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Junaya and Macquarie Community College celebrate successful partnership

Junaya and Macquarie Community College celebrate successful partnership

Junaya is excited to announce the successes of its recent Steps to Safer Parenting program, run in partnership with Macquarie Community College.

A community-based organisation with a history of over 20 years in the Blacktown region, Junaya began as a pilot program to support people who typically fell into the gaps – people that needed help but didn’t fit the criteria for other offerings. Junaya assists the entire community – from first time parents looking to connect with others, all the way through to parents involved with child protection concerns.

The Steps to Safer Parenting course came to fruition when Junaya identified a gap between child protective services and families who didn’t understand what changes needed to be made. In partnership with Macquarie Community College, Junaya was able to help fill this gap.

The six-week program is designed to help participants develop practical skills to help protect children and create safe and nurturing homes. Topics like identifying child abuse and the impact it has on the child to safety – including but not limited to water, home, and car safety – are all covered. It does all this whilst removing the stigma and judgement that often surrounds these issues.

Valerie Karim, Executive Officer at Junaya, stresses the importance of creating a safe space for these participants.

“What I’ve seen the Macquarie Community College facilitators do really well is create a safe space – psychologically safe, that is – and allows participants to really vent their frustrations and difficulties about parenting without making them feel negatively about themselves.”

A highlight of the course is allowing parents to come up with their own parenting mantra, which Valerie describes as transformative.

“A lot of self-reflective elements are embedded into the course. We really wanted to make personal growth a priority for all parents that undertake the course. Asking questions like – ‘How were you parented?’ ‘What is your parenthood mantra?’ ‘What kind of parent do you want to be?’ all help participants reflect on where they’ve been and where they want to go on their parenting journey.”

The results of the program have anecdotally been transformative. Participants move forward with a toolkit of ways to cope, even if their involvement was short-lived.

Valerie added, “Not everyone finishes the course. But even those who didn’t still gave us really, really positive feedback – they took something away that was meaningful to them. It was a clear shift, both mentally and behaviourally.”

One of the more pleasant surprises of the success of the program came from the support network that attendees were able to form through attending the course, said Valerie. The participants in each iteration of the course were able to be there for each other while, continuing to do the hard work of self-improvement driven by a love for their children.

“There is virtually no place where parents whose children are at risk of harm are safe from stigma and societal pressures. This program provides a supportive space for parents to explore and talk about what they and their children have experienced can voice their concerns safely and without judgement. Thanks to this course, however, these participants have found each other and have been able to form a supportive network that lifts each other up.”

Feedback from the course matches what Valerie saw – participants noted both the excellent content of the course, and the connections they made with other attendees.

Valerie and the wider team at Junaya couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the pilot program.

“We’ve seen the difference this program has made in the families we’ve worked with, and we know the difference it will make to every child and family. It’s worth the journey for the families we work with, day in and day out.”

Find out more about the course

If you want to know more about Junaya’s upcoming Steps to Safer Parenting course visit: which starts Feb 22. Otherwise you can contact Junaya on 02 9621 3922.