• How do you find your way to your child's heart?

    The heart has become an important and central symbol in the Foundation’s new narrative. It represents the power of love to heal the pain that children carry with them when they have experienced the trauma of abuse and family violence. It has reminded me of how important a heart and its meaning can be in our therapeutic work with children, young people and their carers/families. 

  • The Trauma of Separation and Divorce

    It is easy to underestimate the impact of family arguments, parental separation, the leaving of one parent from the family home, the disconnection in relationships, the challenges extended family have when perhaps being prevented from seeing a child/young person due to parental acrimony and the interconnected effect these can have on children.  

  • Family Yoga

    The family yoga program at EACH was developed to provide a non-conversational approach to well-being, to support the integration between the mind and the body, to reduce the barrier between professionals and families, to encourage families to connect and have fun, improve relationships and body awareness.

  • Why '13 Reasons Why' needs to be discussed

    We invited Jason Trethowan, CEO at 'headspace' to write for us this week on the topic of the 
    recent Netflix series 'Thirteen Reasons Why'.  He also shares a valuable tool they have developed to assist adults to talk with young people about the show and it's themes.
     
  • I killed my fish

    As a Child Psychologist working with traumatised children, I hear a lot of stories, some of which are sad or cruel, some unbelievable or amazing. These stories provide me some insight in the different ways these children experience the world. It is my challenge to unravel the story and try and discover the key to why this story is so upsetting or overwhelming to them. Sometimes that leads to an unexpected outcome.
  • Post Adoption Support

    Guest blogger, Leza Schultz shares how PASQ practitioners work with children who have experienced trauma, addressing the long-term impact of separation from biological families.

  • Care for children - Compassion for self

    Changing the narratives, the beliefs about identity and relationships that traumatised children have learnt is hard work.  It takes time and repetition (just as forming the problematic narratives and beliefs did) and the opportunity to do so in healthy, attuned relationships.

  • Schools as Service Providers

    Guest blogger, registered psychologist and school counsellor Deborah Costa shares her model around Trauma Informed systems and services for school as service providers.
  • The Sooner the Better

    Meet the newest edition to our Mindful Parenting Programs - Bringing Up Great Kids: Hello Baby!

  • Therapeutic Teepees

    Can a Teepee be Therapeutic? The answer according to Child Trauma Service  Senior Counsellor, Catherine Ensor, is ‘Yes!’ Read her blog entry showing how teepee’s have been used in our group work with children.

  • To my Teacher... A memo from a child in foster care.

    How might a child in foster care find their first day at school?  In today's blog entry Jeanette Miller, Consultant in the Parenting and Early Learning Program at the Australian Childhood Foundation explores the topic in this letter to a teacher, from the perspective of a child in foster care. 

  • Running Away... to School.

    How do we help our students feel safe? The start of the new school year is upon us, and Alexa Duke explores the implications of current research on bringing about a sense of safety and calm in our classrooms. 

  • The Nature and Nurture of Parenting

    How do we learn to be parents? Is it nature? Is it nurture? Jeanette Miller considers two different approaches and reflects on what parents who have themselves experienced trauma might need.

  • "I will die without my music"

    Young people love their music. It is a well- researched and documented phenomenon.  Here, music therapist, adolescent specialist and guest blogger Carmen Cheong-Clinch explores the relationships between young people, their music and mental health care.

  • The impact of trauma on sibling relationships

    A growing body of literature supports the critical role of siblings in helping children and young people in OoHC maintain a sense of continuity with family.  Here, Noel MacNamara explores the literature and the gaps within it, highlighting how trauma damages the capacity for children and young people to benefit from relationships with adults, and from the growth of healthy sibling connections.

  • What comes after trauma-informed practice?

    Knowledge of the neurobiology of trauma has shaped our work for at least 15 years now.  We have advocated that being trauma-informed is essential... but what comes next? Foundation CEO Dr Joe Tucci shares his projections of what the field of childhood trauma needs now.

  • Shame Matters

    What is shame? Why is it present in so many therapists sessions?  How should clinicians approach it?  These questions and more are tackled by Suzette Misrachi in 'Shame Matters'.

  • Residential Care in Australia

    There has been ongoing concern about the safety and quality of children’s experiences in Australia’s residential care systems for a very long time. The ABC Four Corners program that aired last week, 'Broken Homes', is another example of the concerns that have been expressed by many. We heard again about the lack of safety experienced by the young people and the failures in the system to support staff. The program raised many questions about child protection systems in Australia. This blog reflects on some of those questions.

  • Untying the Knot

    Have you ever wondered how trauma impacts care systems?  In what ways can the emergent properties of fragmentation or integration change the service outcomes? Dilip Balu poses this question and shares his thoughts on the ability for such a system to consistently provide care that helps clients also achieve health and integration.

  • A Modality with a Difference

    Do you have clients whom you have spent a long time working with to address their traumatic experiences but somehow changing their cognitions is not fully resolving the issue? Following her recent webinar on the topic of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®, Pauline Lodge here shares her perception of what makes this modality different when working with survivors of abuse. 

  • Child abuse and suicide: a harmful correlation - Part 2

    Part 2 in the series looking at the strong correlation between suicide and early childhood sexual assault.  We thought we’d take the opportunity over two blog posts, to discuss the research literature and then share some ideas about how we might contribute to better work with this vulnerable population.

  • Child abuse and suicide: a harmful correlation - Part 1

    In our practice experience and in the research, there is little doubt that there is a strong correlation between suicide and early childhood sexual assault, in particular that perpetrated by members of an individual’s family.  We thought we’d take the opportunity over two blog posts, to discuss the research literature and then share some ideas about how we might contribute to better work with this vulnerable population.
  • Youth and Porn - Sensational to Developmental

    porn youth problem sexual behaviour australian childhood foundation Russell Pratt, Statewide Principal Practitioner, Office of Professional Practice, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, and Cyra Fernandes, Team Leader, Child and Family Counselling Program, Child Trauma Service share their insight and perspectives on young people exposed to porn: Why we should move from the sensational to the developmental.
  • How trauma hijacks learning - A memo from a four year old

    How might a four year old describe the impact of trauma on their ability to learn?  In today's blog entry Jeanette Miller, Consultant in the Parenting and Early Learning Program at the Australian Childhood Foundation explores the topic, informed by our understanding of neurobiology and developmental trauma.

  • Don Dale : Beyond Anger

    Reflecting on 'Australia's Shame' and the outrage that has followed the airing of the Four Corners episode, Lauren Thomas considers what we as a group of professionals working with vulnerable children can do.

  • Where is Article 12?

    Knowledge in the field of neurobiology has dramatically changed therapeutic work with trauma.  But does this focus also contribute to a bio-medical model of work that can lead to a breach in children's rights? Where children’s trauma is more likely to be managed medically rather than in an engaged manner with their ability to share their own experience and have input into therapeutic process? Here Mary Jo McVeigh considers the place of human rights in the trauma therapeutic discourse. 

  • School Bullying Trauma - An Overview

    Although most schools try to reduce bullying, one in five children still experience bullying. Omitted from the DSM V, school bullying can cause biopsychosocial injuries, loss of identity and social connections together with a potential for suicidal behaviours, and is a major childhood challenge writes guest blogger, Evelyn Fields OAM.

  • What on earth is placement stability in residential Out of Home Care?

    Young people in residential care often display incredibly hard to manage behaviours, and finding a placement that works for them among all the other young people with their own combination of the hard to manage behaviours is really hard.  Jenna Bollinger discusses what placement stability might - and may not - mean when applied to residential care. 

  • Sibling Sexual Abuse Series - Part 1

    The first in what will be a three part series exploring Sibling Sexual Abuse, the impact on families and a model for therapeutic response which we have been trialling at the Foundation. 

  • Trauma-Informed Goal Setting

    Is there such a thing as trauma informed goal setting in practice with vulnerable children, young people and their families? CEO Joe Tucci seeks to answer this question here.

  • Assessment Part 4

    The fourth article in this series of articles on assessment, here we examine how to conceptualise and assess the needs of children and families as it related to case planning and intervention.

  • Corporate Partnerships - What are they really about?

    Corporate Partnerships As a not-for-profit organisation working with and for our community, connections and support are vital to us; they are the lifeblood of our existence. In fact, for us at the Foundation in particular, there is an interesting echo of our work with children in what we also seek to create for ourselves as an organisation. 
  • Assessment in Practice with Vulnerable Children and Families Series - Part 1

    There are many terms relevant to the practice with vulnerable and abused children and their families. This is the first in a four part series by CEO Joe Tucci on examining the key dimensions of assessment in this contested area of professional decision making.   For this article, Joe focusses on the construct of protectiveness in families and communities. 

  • Practice Leadership - Part 2

    The second in a two part series on Practice Leadership written by Deputy CEO Janise Mitchell.  This entry particularly looks at what a Practice Leader does.

  • Engaging Traumatised Parents in the School Environment

    For many of us, school holds fond memories but for others, school holds many triggers for trauma – the oval where they were bullied, the corridor where they were physically assaulted, the classroom where they were often publicly humiliated, the sting and the shame of corporal punishment, the principal’s office where they were frequently suspended. And I wonder if we, as educators, have ever stopped to walk through the school gates in the shoes of our most vulnerable parents?
  • Life Story Work

    For children who have been removed or separated from their families from a young age and endured a number of changes as a result; access to their history is not as simple as it sounds. In this blog entry, Kim MacKay explores the use of Life Story Work with traumatised children and young people. 

  • Changing the language of family violence

    With the Royal Commission into Family Violence now moving into the public hearing phase, the Foundation made its own submission. One of the arguments that we made was that family violence is an aggregated construct that in itself continues to limit the development of effective social policy.

  • Developmental Trauma Informed Maps... Why do we need them?

    What is a Developmental Trauma Informed Map? This grandly titled document actually asks participants to articulate the core messages of this body of knowledge and think about how it can underpin practice on a daily basis. Marina Dickson explains more...

  • 7 Top Books About Families of All Shapes and Sizes

    ‘Family’ for children who have experienced child abuse and trauma can be a shifting and sometimes painful concept to grapple with, and we need more ways to help acknowledge and normalise the spectrum of what ‘family’ can mean. In today's blog post, Senior Counsellor Chris Cussens shares a list of books that include varied stories of ‘family’.

  • Practice Leadership - Part 1

    This is the first in a two part series on Practice Leadership written by Deputy CEO Janise Mitchell.  This entry particularly looks at what a Practice Leader is in the context of Child Protection. 

  • Child Centred Practice Part 4

    In this, the fourth article in our series, we will look at why an understanding of child development is important to organisations aiming to be child centred in their delivery.

  • Does trauma-informed = stronger practice?

    In this interview, Deanna reflects on her experience of studying the Graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma and the personal and professional outcomes that continue to influence her contribution to the sector.
  • Family Soup

    A blog entry about how two stories (or more) become one.

  • Mental Health, Young People and Trauma

    Increased diagnosis in mental health may be masking our understanding of, and response to, behaviours that are really manifestations of trauma writes Alexa Duke.

  • Kinship and Relative Carers

    In this first part of a two part series, Deputy CEO Janise Mitchell explores messages from the research about the support needs of kinship or relative carers.

  • The importance of holding the traumatised parent in child trauma work

    When a child walks into our counselling office, so much more comes with them.  The child might be our client, but children always exist within families and systems and these too are often traumatised. So how, as therapists, do we strike the balance of working with both, for the benefit of the child? 

  • Placement transitions in Out of Home Care

    Undertaking planned transitions for children in out-of-home care is essential to minimise further trauma and relationships disruption.  In this blog entry, Drew Browning explores how these transitions can be planned and managed to support best outcomes. 

  • Practicing Shame Resilience

    Shame Resilience

    Shame is a powerful emotion that can have trans-generational effects. It is not easy to talk about, but in this entry by Guest Blogger Andrea Szasz that's exactly what she does, sharing important insights into how we can work with our own shame, and that of clients.

  • Child Centred Practice - Part 3

    In today’s post, the third in our series on Child Centred Practice, we will look at what it means not only to listen to children but also to prioritise the voice of the child.
  • Toxic Stress and Trauma in the Early Years

    Toxic stress and trauma for infants is painful. In today's entry, Dr Joe Tucci and Janise Mitchell talk about the impact of trauma on infants, exploring why this professionals can benefit from trauma-informed knowledge and training when working with children in the early years. 

  • Mirror Neurons & Bucket Fillers

    No matter what the therapeutic context, wiring into the prefrontal cortex region of the brain is the foundation for developing empathy, reflection, resilience and relationships. One important way in which we can do these – even with very young children and infants – is through the use of mirror neurons.

  • Mindfulness for Parents: 10 Breaths

    In this post, and another in mid August, we will be sharing two mindfulness practices which we use with parents.  Today, we look at '10 Breaths' – a simple mindfulness practice for savouring your life.

  • Soothe Contain Move On

    Steve Stokes, Program Director at South Pacific Private, shares a regulation technique he developed for use in their work with clients who present with both addictions and childhood trauma. 
  • The Butterfly

    A beautiful story of change and transformation using metaphor in therapy. 

  • What does it mean to be Child Centred? Part 2

    This post is the second in our series looking at Child Centred Practice, exploring the first of four principles of child centred practice that can inform policies, processes and actions: Recognising Critical Timeframes. 


  • Family Stories

    Pat Jewell, Team Leader of the Parenting Education and Support program explores how we sub-consciously learn stories that continue to narrate our lives.

  • Stepping Inside the Infant Experience

    To be truly attuned to the infant experience it is likely that we best meet the needs of our ‘under twos’, when we access and communicate with, our own right brains writes Jeanette Miller, who here explores myths and misconceptions held around the infant experience.

  • Neurobiology of Self-Care

    An exploration of self-care from a neurobiological perspective, placing it at the centre of effective practice in work with traumatised children, young people and families. 

  • Caring for a Traumatised Teen

    Adolescence is a period of significant growth, change and development, and is often an exciting as well as challenging time for young people and their parents or carers.  In this blog entry we discuss the insights neurobiology has to support the role of carers of traumatised young people.

  • Shame

    Have you ever thought about how children, young people and adults have come to hold onto a platform of Shame? Here, Deb McKenzie shares how in her role as an educator and school counsellor, she often wondered how to best help support a young person who held onto such a negative image of themselves.  This concern has taken her on a journey of learning around the topic.

  • 9 Plain English Principles of Trauma Informed Care

    The trauma literature can be overwhelming. Its basis in neuroscience offers incredible insights into its impact. But it also is challenging to decipher and make relevant to the ways in which children that have experienced abuse and neglect can be effectively supported.  

    So here, are our top nine principles of trauma informed care – in plain English.
  • What does it mean to be Child Centred?

    Anyone who has worked with children in a professional setting will likely have heard the term ‘child-centred’ used to describe an approach, a policy or a way of working with children. It is written into legislation around Australia and seen as a desirable way of approaching child protection by many.  Some organisations – like the Foundation – also describe themselves as being child-centred as a central principle informing all that they do.  But what does it mean?

  • The story of James

    -   A case study looking at how one young man was supported by therapeutic carers to move beyond his past and look toward a brilliant future.

  • What if the world hurts?

    What if your teacher’s voice feels like a dentist drill? What if the walls of your classroom feel like they are crowded and moving? What if the seam on your sock drives you to distraction and makes it almost impossible to listen to what is being said to you? Beth Guy looks at the topic of sensory defensiveness and what it means for children and young people as well as those who support them.

  • Sexting and Young People

    If you work with young people, you no doubt know about sexting – the act of sending nude or provocative pictures via text on mobile phone or social media.  What you may not know is that doing so amounts to a criminal offense under Commonwealth Law, even if all parties are willing.

  • All at sea with children's behaviour

    When discussing the behaviours of children with parents in our Bringing up Great Kids parent groups, we offer them a fresh way of viewing and thinking about what they see in children’s behaviours.  This blog entry looks at our model and how we use it. 
  • Transforming Trauma in Schools

    Children and young people around Australia are struggling to participate in school life because their brains are shutting down due to toxic stress. When exposed to levels of high stress like trauma and abuse, children and young people can struggle to follow simple instructions even - resulting in them often being perceived as naughty kids.
  • Leaves of Hope

    Perhaps you have asked yourself how you might impart hope with your clients? An outcome of change for children, bringing with it possibilities for fun, enthusiasm and optimism, it is possibly also something we struggle to pinpoint for ourselves as we journey with clients. 

    In this blog entry, Lauren Thomas shares a story of hope found in the recovery process of a young person we've worked with.

  • Principles of Out of Home Care Reform - Part 1

    Part 1 in a series of posts discussing principles of Out of Home Care reform.  Here, Janise Mitchell discusses the principle which - in her view - is one of the most the most critical outcome measures of success of any out of home care system. 

  • From theory to practice

    Marina Dickson looks at the benefits and importance of learning for professionals working with children who have experienced trauma.

  • The legacy of Robin Clark

    Robin Clarke ongoing inspiration

    Robyn Clark provides an on-going inspiration for all who work to promote the rights of and the protection of children in Australia. Here Noel Macnamara reflects on the impact she still has on his own work, and how her legacy might inspire us all.