Young Parents Program
Lighthouse's Vicki Vidor OAM Young Parents Program yields positive, life-changing results for two generations at once by providing support for vulnerable young parents and their new-born babies. This highly regarded and unique program provides therapeutic live-in care which enables vulnerable young homeless girls and their babies to be supported in a safe and therapeutic home. Experienced, live-in carers support the young parent to learn parenting skills, and form a healthy, secure attachment with her baby and eventually help the young parent to their own home. Usually, two or three young parents and their babies can live in each one of the two large Lighthouse homes that currently operate the program. The Lighthouse carers who live in these “Mums ‘n Bubs” homes are highly dedicated and appreciated members of our Lighthouse community.
Life before Lighthouse
Before coming to Lighthouse, many homeless young mums (and some dads) have lived in dire circumstances and are faced with uncertain, terrifying futures. They can join the Lighthouse home while pregnant or after their baby is born. The main factors that have driven them to homelessness are because of relationship and family breakdown, abuse, and domestic violence. For many, sleeping on the streets is their safest option and having nowhere to go after leaving the hospital is their reality. Without intervention, they are at risk of harm, and so is their baby.
Unique program offerings
This program provides the most important intervention needed by homeless young parents and children: stable housing combined with individualized support and education from a multidisciplinary team. The program includes regular visits from experienced and highly qualified community health professionals with expertise in maternal and child health. The young mothers are guided through antenatal and post-natal care, breast-feeding, parenting, nutrition and early childhood care with supports like infant-massage specialists and specialist parenting courses available as required. They are also supported by a range of tailored education and life skills trainings provided by a team of professional psychologists, counsellors and youth workers. A key parenting training program – The Circle of Security, is undertaken by all the young parents along with their babies and toddlers.
When they are ready to transition to independent living, it is usual for the young parents to take up shared private rental close to the Lighthouse home so they can stay in close contact with the carers they have grown to trust.