Agencies collaborate to Keep Kids in Mind


Keeping Kids in Mind MOU signing
Signatories to the MOU (from left): Bernard Boerma (Catholic Care – Sydney), Kath McCormack (Catholic Care – Wollongong), Deirdre Cheers (Centacare Broken Bay), and Otto Henfling (Centacare Catholic Social Services – Parramatta). Photo: David Tang.

Centacare Catholic Social Services (CCSS) - Diocese of Parrmatta has joined with three other Catholic social service and welfare agencies in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Keeping Kids in Mind Project.

Signed at CCSS Head Office in Parramatta on Wednesday 24 June, the MOU between Catholic Care and Centacare agencies across Sydney and environs establishes a consortium to deliver the Keeping Kids in Mind Project, which assists parents to co-operate after separation.

Signatories to the MOU were the Chief Executive Officers and Executive Directors of the Greater Sydney area, the Central Coast and Illawarra regions of Catholic Care (Sydney), Catholic Care (Wollongong), Centacare Broken Bay and CCSS.

The Keeping Kids in Mind Project is a case management support model that offers a range of therapeutic, educational and family dispute resolution services to couples and families experiencing conflict in separation.

The project is designed to inform and improve parents’ awareness regarding the impact of their conflict on their children’s psychological and emotional development and to increase their commitment to collaborative parenting.

The agencies have been developing the project for the past three years. It includes a group work program that has been running as a pilot program and has been researched and positively evaluated.

Otto Henfling, Director of Centacare Catholic Social Services (CCSS) – Diocese of Parramatta, said the MOU highlighted the high level of cooperation on both on the ground at the direct service level and at a senior manager and CEO level.

“It is great compliment to the hard work that has been going on for the past few years. This is expected to mean a better outcome for children who may be experiencing distress and negatively affected by chronic conflict in separated families.”

Ann O’Brien, Senior Manager with CCSS, said with the Keeping Kids in Mind Project, separated parents could contact any of the cooperating agencies and have a consistent approach.

“This will assist the family whether through group work, counselling, mediation or casework. The families won’t have to worry about diocesan boundaries or whether they have to ring Catholic Care in Sydney or Centacare in Parramatta.”

The great benefits of the Keeping Kids in Mind consortium are for the children in these families experiencing post-separation conflict and an improvement in family relationships generally.

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