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Centacare’s Children First – one of the world’s 12 best programs

A Brisbane program designed to help children cope with the trauma of parental separation and divorce has been named one of the world’s twelve best education and group intervention programs.

Centacare’s Children First program received the accolade as a result of a world research review on similar programs by the Australian Institute for Primary Care, Faculty of Health, Latrobe University, Melbourne.

Children First is one of five Australian programs named in the 12 programs announced in May as “Gold Standard” by the research review.

Funded by the Australian Attorney General’s Department, the research was undertaken as a resource for professional development programs designed for practitioners working with separating parents held throughout Australia. A program was presented to Brisbane practitioners in late June.

Children First, offered by Centacare Catholic Family and Community Services for the past ten years, has helped an estimated 700 children and their families through the changes that occur in everyday family living when parents separate and divorce.

Centacare’s Mary Wadeson, program co-ordinator for Children First, is delighted but not surprised that the program has received international recognition.

“Children First has consistently produced positive results due entirely to the Centacare team effort over the past decade,” Ms Wadeson said.

“The program has had a number of excellent coordinators whose expertise and dedication has resulted in the course that families experience today. Our challenge is to present the best possible intervention for children and their parents on a very small budget, and with fees that are affordable for everyone who needs assistance.”

Children First is a series of six two hourly sessions for young people, aged five to fifteen years, held once a week over six weeks or over several days during school holidays. Two trained adults work with age appropriate groups consisting of four to five young people. Running concurrently with the children’s program is a parents’ program, which supports the work of Children First.

The next Children First program will be presented in the September school holidays in Brisbane. Call Centacare on 3252 4371 to receive a brochure or more information.

Mary Wadeson is a relationship educator with Centacare Brisbane. She has wide experience in assisting adults and children manage grief and loss situations.

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