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Community Corrections puts parents through programmes

Hamilton Community Corrections puts parents through programmes

Hamilton Community Corrections has taken a new approach to supporting parents serving community work sentences with an initiative aimed at improving their own lives as well as those of their children.

Around 30 offenders are taking part in the ‘Mamas and Papas’ community work crews, an initiative which supports parents who have childcare responsibilities before and after school hours.

Interventions provided to participants include free sessions from Family Planning, Plunket, and budgeting, as well as learner license training, Problem Gambling Foundation support, drink-driving prevention, brief alcohol and drug intervention, and visits to and from education providers.

Community Corrections Service Manager Elisabeth Cianci says the reaction to date from those involved has been really positive:

“A recent intervention we have undertaken with the Mamas and Papas crew was an ‘Open and Honest Workshop’ run by Family Planning. We gathered feedback at the end and people said it was really useful and that they enjoyed it. The overall consensus was that the lessons learnt will be useful for having discussions with their children.”

The Open and Honest Workshop was run by Julia Drury, a Health Promoter for Family Planning. Designed to be relaxed, informative and interactive, the workshop is designed to help parents confidently address sexuality issues with their children.

The aim is that parents develop skills and an openness required to help children understand and feel good about their bodies as they develop and form healthy relationships in the future.

“Parents don’t always feel comfortable answering those tricky questions so this workshop was an opportunity to learn how other parents have managed these situations and give them some handy tips on what might work for them,” says Elisabeth.

Along with the Family Planning session, Mamas and Papas crews have also visited ATC-Trainme, an education provider which delivers courses relating to literacy and numeracy, trades and work preparation for people aged 16 to 65 years.

The expo-style visit was well received by those who attended, says Elisabeth:

“It generated a lot of positive discussion at the community work site. It was great to see everyone warmly welcomed by our community partners and how responsive the offenders were to the visit and to the opportunities the education provider presented.

“Questions from the crew indicated that they were not only thinking about what might be available and suitable for them, but also for members of their whānau, which is exactly the type of reflection we are aiming for.”

Future interventions run with the group will include sessions with other professional and support agencies such as Child Matters, Women’s Refuge, Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project, and the People’s Project, all of which are designed to provide parents with a positive link that may support a reduction in family harm.

“Our goal is to not only provide those in these groups with the necessary life skills to create happier and healthy homes, but also to support the wider work going on across the Department to reduce the impact of family harm,” says Elisabeth.


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