Children & Mothers in Mind Clinical Information
The Children and Mother’s in Mind (CMiM) Program is jointly provided by the Children’s Protection Society, Anglicare Victoria, Caroline Chisholm Society, Barwon CASA/Minerva, Merri Outreach Support Services, McAuley Community Support for Women, Vincent Care and Quantum Support Services in collaboration with the University of Calgary, the Toronto Child Development Institute and Connections Toronto.
Children and Mother’s in Mind is an early intervention program for mothers and their children four years and under who have experienced family violence.
Literature suggests that family violence is an attack on the mother-child relationship. Most mothers who experience family violence also experience significant difficulties in their parenting role, greater parenting stress and compromised parenting.
It is not uncommon for women who have experienced family violence to lose confidence in their ability to parent effectively, particularly if their parenting is or has been undermined or criticised by an abusive current or former partner, leading to isolation and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Contrary to popular beliefs that infants and young children are not affected by trauma and do not notice or remember traumatic events, it is now proven that anything that affects older children and adults can equally affect very young children.
This program will support mothers and young children to recover from the impacts of family violence, improve developmental outcomes for children, increase parenting capacity, support and rebuild the mother-child attachment and bonding, decrease mother and child isolation, and, ultimately ensure the health, safety, and, wellbeing of the mother and child.
The program consists of a 22 week, empirically based, manualised group parenting intervention for mothers and their children.
- CMiM utilises a two generations approach to support and strengthen the relationship between mothers and their children who have experienced family violence. Mothers and children learn about and experience healthy and positive relationships, learning strategies to facilitate emotional and physical safety which will help prevent family violence occurring again in future relationships
- The program will enhance the mother-child attachment and bonding which will ensure that these children do not enter the out of home care system.
- The CMiM program has been designed to intervene early in a child’s life; four years of age or under. The impacts of family violence on the child before the age of four are significant as this is a time when the brain is developing at a fast rate, it is undergoing significant growth and changes and is making long lasting neural connections. This is a great time to intervene to ensure healthy neural connections are formed, producing positive outcomes for the child.
- With a focus on the mother-child relationship, CMiM helps to repair the negative impacts of violence family on both the mother and her child. The program does this by strengthening the mother’s attunement to her child and her child’s needs. The mother also learns how to set realistic expectations of her child and supports her to understand her child’s behaviour within a trauma context.
- Not only do the mothers and their children participate in direct group work they are also provided with case management and brokerage support throughout the 22-week program. This ensures that women and their children are provided with linkages within their community and referrals to specialist support services where appropriate. Having contact with their worker at least twice a week will ensure that the specific needs of the women and children are being identified
- The CMiM program is offered to clients in the Child Protection system so long as there is sufficient safety to both the mother and her child.
- This 22-week program is trauma informed and is specifically designed for mothers and their children who have experienced family violence which has impacted on their relationship with their child and ability to parent effectively.
- The program facilitators are highly qualified social workers, psychologists, counsellors and education specialists with extensive experience working with women and children who have been impacted by family violence. The program also has an infant mental health coordinator who provides specialist consultations to group facilitators regarding infant mental health assessment and child development.
- The CMiM program understands the complex dimensions and serious impacts of family violence on the lives of women and children and acknowledges this by providing a free service which includes individual and group support, providing refreshments during group and assistance with transportation if required.