About us

Churches of Christ Care - Children, Youth and Families (formerly Churches of Christ Care Pathways) has been operating for over 45 years. We provide a broad range of services focused on building stronger, more capable and resilient children, young people and families throughout Queensland. These services include early childhood care and education, family support, out of home care and transition to independence programs, with support provided based on identified needs and interests of individual communities.

 

Our philosophy

Churches of Christ Care is committed to enhancing the health, safety and well-being of children and young people through a wide range of integrated child and family support services, and effective partnerships with government and other support services and agencies.

Our philosophy of care:

  • We believe that each child/young person has a voice, is unique and inherently valuable.
  • We are committed to providing care that responds optimally to individual needs, strengths, skills and abilities, and enables each individual to reach their full potential.
  • We recognise and respect the importance of the family unit and its potential to foster the positive development and self-worth of each child/young person.  Central to our approach is a strong focus on strengthening families and supporting family connections where possible throughout the care process.
  • We recognise the importance of valuing and encouraging relationships that are significant to a child/young person.
  • We believe that the needs of each child/young person and family are best understood within the context of their culture, customs and beliefs.
  • We are committed to enabling creative, flexible and effective care practices through monitoring, supporting and developing skilled and valued staff and carers, and providing personal and professional development opportunities.
  • We aspire to provide safe, stable, nurturing and caring environments for children and young people to enable opportunities for them to grow and develop emotionally, socially, physically, intellectually and spiritually.

Cultural inclusiveness

Churches of Christ in Queensland is committed to building safe, inclusive, respectful and compassionate communities where individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds have the opportunities to reach their full potential.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Our vision is to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families have access to culturally competent and capable care services where they feel safe, engaged, respected, acknowledged, valued and supported to achieve the best possible outcomes.  Throughout 2014 and 2015, a significant amount of work was completed to create a platform to support this vision. Results of this work include the endorsement of Churches of Christ in Queensland’s first Reconciliation Action Plan for 2015-2017 and the appointment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Inclusions Consultant into the senior management team.

The Reconciliation Action Plan contains a range of practical activities to build stronger relationships and greater respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians. The plan is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and sits alongside our strategic plan, and forms a public commitment to improving the way we engage and work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – as clients, colleagues and communities.  Our Reconciliation Action Plan provides a framework to examine what we can do as an organisation to contribute to reconciliation. It coordinates our actions and efforts and holds us accountable for improving the way we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. We developed this plan with a working group that included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and representatives from our service and support areas, and it has been endorsed with full support from the organisation’s Board and Chief Officers.

With the guidance of our Cultural Inclusions Consultant, we are developing a Cultural Inclusions Framework that will guide the principles for the governance, policy, planning, infrastructure, information systems, human resource management, quality improvement, education and training, and every aspect of culturally capable service delivery.  This framework will provide consistency in developing cultural capability across Churches of Christ in Queensland to better support local people, and will guide the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are essential for all employees to provide culturally appropriate services and culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

Cultural Inclusions Framework

The Cultural Inclusions Framework will:
•    Develop the foundations to improve the cultural capability of Churches of Christ in Queensland
•    Guide the provision of culturally responsive services including engagement, access and support
•    Ensure that the work we do within the organisation meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders
•    Assist in identifying cultural capability gaps across the organisation
•    Provide consistency of approach across the organisation
•    Inform the development of our human resource and staff development strategies
•    Provide a guide to develop, retain and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
•    Collect appropriate data to support funding and determine outcomes and progress for Indigenous children and families.

Engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Churches of Christ in Queensland is committed to delivering respectful, informed and accessible services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.  We recognise that some of the ongoing barriers experienced by children and families from CALD backgrounds include a lack of culturally appropriate information about services, rights and entitlements and inability to access interpreters when engaging with services.  These barriers impact on a range of areas including engagement in education, employment, housing, domestic and family violence services and support, child safety and disability services and generally connecting with the broader community.

Churches of Christ in Queensland uses the Sanctuary Model of care, which provides our organisation with a framework to help people in the communities we work with to overcome trauma. Children, young people and families with CALD backgrounds have much diversity in their histories.  Some have come from very functional healthy backgrounds; however, many have experienced significant trauma.  Because our staff are educated in trauma theory, they have the knowledge and skills to identify and explore individual trauma histories and are able to conduct thorough assessments to identify support needs and immediate to long-term goals.  The Sanctuary Model encourages staff to ask the question, “What has happened in this family?” Asking this question helps workers to identify the best way to support and advocate for families.

Churches of Christ in Queensland is dedicated to supporting families from CALD backgrounds and will continue to develop knowledge and skills, and to make research, resources and supports accessible to ensure the needs of our CALD families are met to the highest standard.  We recognise and value cultural diversity, and acknowledge the importance of delivering services in partnership with local communities in order to provide culturally competent and capable services to children, young people and their families.

 

Model of care

Sanctuary Model of Care

The Sanctuary Model is a whole of system, trauma informed model of care that strives to actively create and sustain non–violent, democratic, and therapeutic environments.  The Sanctuary Model works to develop an environment in which the organisation, leaders, staff and clients are empowered as key decision-makers to build responsive, emotionally-intelligent communities that value growth and change (Bloom 1994, p. 4).  
 

Trauma-informed organisational leadership

Organisational culture arises out of the people, history, memory, experiences and formal structures of the organisation. It is the foundation of the organisation’s identity (i.e. who it claims to be) and the health and wellbeing of its clients and staff (i.e. what the organisation claims to do). In their seminal work, Destroying Sanctuary (2011), Bloom and Farragher identify that the level of stress being experienced by organisations often mirrors the stress being experienced by traumatised service users.  An organisation that exhibits the symptoms of stress and trauma will struggle to implement organisational culture change (pp. 189 – 190).
 
The Sanctuary Model offers an explanation for the lack of faith and trust within often chronically-stressed human service organisations that makes the introduction of any change difficult (Bloom, 1994).  There are a number of factors that make implementing change challenging within human service organisations, such as funding reductions, staff turnover and workload pressures, and they need to be considered as part of the initial environmental workplace assessment to support implementation.

These challenges may be underestimated by leaders and key decision-makers.  Uncertainty is a significant contributor to the perception of stress and there is nothing more uncertain in corporate life than organisational change (Bloom and Farragher 2011, p. 88).

For sustainable change to occur, the Sanctuary Model identifies the requirement for a whole of organisation approach, which means addressing the existing hierarchy, power relations, and conflicting values and priorities of the organisation.  The use of a shared language, emotional intelligence, open communication and non-violence are necessary pre-conditions for sustainable change.

Theoretical underpinnings of the Sanctuary Model

Trauma theory

The Sanctuary Model applies the key concepts of Trauma Theory, namely Traumatic Re-enactment, Parallel Process, Collective Disturbance and Vicarious Trauma.

The Seven Sanctuary Commitments

The Seven Sanctuary Commitments provide the guiding principles to support the development of a trauma-informed organisational environment that is safe at all levels for clients, staff and teams (Bloom, 2005).

Non-violence Being safe physically, emotionally, socially, culturally and morally
Emotional Intelligence Managing our feelings so we do not hurt ourselves or others
Social Learning Respecting and sharing the ideas of our teams
Democracy Developing shared decision making and a flattened hierarchy across the team, organisation or community
Open Communication Saying what we mean and not being mean when we say it
Social Responsibility Together we accomplish more and everyone makes a contribution to the organisational culture
Growth and Change Creating hope and a sense of future for our clients, staff and the organisation

The shared language of SELF

As human service organisations often employ people from a diverse range of specialisations and backgrounds, the Sanctuary Model encourages the use of a shared language that is simple and accessible to ensure practitioners focus on the most important aspects of helping people heal from trauma. In this regard, Sanctuary constructed the acronym S.E.L.F, which stands for safety, emotion management, loss and future, the four components of the organising framework for treatment planning, community conversations and collaborative decision making.

Sanctuary tools

Sanctuary tools provide practical and concrete ways to operationalise the values of the Sanctuary Model and promote trauma-informed practice to clients, staff, teams and the wider organisation. Sanctuary tools include community meetings, care planning, safety plans, self care plans, team meetings, red flag meetings and psycho-educational group work. The Sanctuary Model recognises that the process of implementation will be unique for each organisation and therefore does not prescribe a manualised treatment approach.

Impact on clients

The diagram below shows the research evidence about the Sanctuary Model and its impacts on clients:

(Yanosy, S et. al. 2014, p. 27)

References

Bloom, S (1994) Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies. Routledge, New York and London.

Bloom, S. L. (2005). The Sanctuary Model of Organizational Change for Children’s Residential Treatment.

Therapeutic Community: The International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations 26(1): 65-81.

Bloom, S and Farragher, B. (2011) Destroying Sanctuary: The Crisis in Human Service Delivery Systems. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Bloom, S and Farragher, B. (2013) Restoring Sanctuary: A New Operating System for Trauma-Informed Systems of Care. Oxford University Press, New York.

Yanosy, S, Harrison, L and Bloom, S (2014) Sanctuary Implementation Workbook, Edition 1. Sanctuary Institute, Yonkers, New York.

 

About Churches of Christ Care

Churches of Christ Care is one of Australia’s largest and most diverse not-for-profit organisations, operating more than 150 services throughout Queensland and Victoria, with the support of over 3,200 staff and 1,200 volunteers. Active in the areas of early childhood care; children, youth and family services; community housing; retirement living; home care; and residential aged care services, we provide Christ-inspired care and compassion to vulnerable people at different stages of their life journey.

Our Christian values mean we offer help to anyone in need regardless of race or religion. We are inspired by Christ but do not expect our clients, or you, to be. Our care and compassion are open to all vulnerable people in all stages of life.

Churches of Christ Care services are funded though a mix of government subsidies, grants, fundraising activities, and fees and charges for selected services. Our community housing projects are made possible through the federal government’s Nation Building – Economic Stimulus Plan.

Learn more about Churches of Christ Care