Parents in Australia often go to services for help with family matters. Services welcome families from all cultures and communities. They can help just as family or community might have helped you in the past.
Services are organisations that can help with many family issues, such as:
- children's health and behaviour
- family health
- housing, jobs, money
- learning English
- problems with gambling, alcohol, drugs, violence
- legal matters.
- have specially trained staff
- keep your information confidential
- are often free
- sometimes have staff who speak your language.
Some services for families are listed at the end of this Guide.
You can ask for an interpreter. It's OK to say 'No' to interpreters you don't feel comfortable with. A telephone interpreter can be arranged instead.
Families from all cultures and communities are welcome at services. It can be good to know you are not alone.
Finding a service
The first step in finding a service is to think about the kind of help you need.
Ask friends, family or people in your community:
- what services they have used
- if they were helpful
- if their cultural needs were respected
- to help you find a service.
You can try both multicultural and mainstream services
- Families are welcome at both multicultural and mainstream services.
- All services are different. Ask what they offer.
- Services usually provide information and advice.
- Some have learning programs, such as parenting groups, English classes, homework clubs for children. Some are able to help in a crisis.
- If a service can't meet your needs, they can help you find another service.
It can take time to find the right service. Don't give up. Keep trying until you find one that's right for you.
Services understand there is a lot for parents to get used to in a new country.
Going to a service
- Ask if you have to make an appointment.
- Who will go to the service? You can take a friend if you want to.
- How will you get there?
- You can ask for an interpreter. They can help you fill in forms and talk to the staff.
Services are confidential. They are not allowed to share your information with anyone unless you say it is OK, or someone is in danger.
You have the right to tell a service if they were helpful or not. They welcome your views as it helps them improve.
- If you want to give feedback, ask how they would like to receive it, such as by email, letter, talking to someone.
- You can take a friend with you or get help to write your views.
- There are health services for families and children of all ages.
- If there is an emergency you can go to a hospital.
- Your local doctor can help with many health and family problems. They are a good place to start.
- The Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) can help with babies and young children. It: is free and confidential; has many clinics across South Australia; has specially trained nurses who can help with children's health, growth, learning, sleeping, eating or behaviour.
Phone 1300 733 606 for an appointment. You can ask for an interpreter.
Don't wait! Get help to deal with problems early before they become worse.
Parents are welcome at schools and child care. You are encouraged to talk with teachers often, even if there is no problem. It's good to know how your child is learning.
- Children can go to playgroups, child care, children's centres and preschools from a young age. See websites at the end of this Guide for your local centres.
- Schools are good places to meet other parents and share ideas and experiences.
- Some schools have services and programs for parents and families.
- Teachers can help you be involved in your child's learning.
- You can ask for an interpreter.
Services can help you adapt to life in Australia and stay connected to your culture.