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Helping asylum seeker mums with parenting

25 October 20130 comments

mums and babies picx381A series of ‘Mother and Baby Group’ sessions at Flagstaff aimed at helping newly arrived asylum seeker client families with babies under a year old are planned to begin on November 22.

The sessions will cover breastfeeding, women’s and children’s health, baby massage, parenting practice in Australia as well as providing information about local services and support networks.

They will be available to AMES clients who speak English, Persian, Tamil or Urdu.

AMES Dandenong recently saw the completion of a series of pilot group sessions which proved popular and successful.

The sessions ran for four weeks at Dandenong with between five to nine mums attending. The target group was mothers with identified needs from Persian and Tamil ethnicities.

The idea for the group was the result of a discussion between case managers Rachel Haughney and Dearbhaile O’ Hagan about the gap in service provision for newly arrived asylum seeking mothers and their new born babies.

“I had run a mother and baby massage group previously with mums from an African background and Dearbhaile had run parenting groups such as strengthening families,” Rachel said.

“We both felt we had skills and resources available which would be of benefit to our clients. We’ve found the groups to be very effective for mothers bonding with their babies and building attachments and also building support networks within their own communities.”

“The groups also act as a kind of assessment for case managers in identifying any undisclosed needs in an open and safe environment,” Rachel said.

Community guides, Neda, Nithu and Kavitha assisted in facilitating the sessions at Dandenong.

Educational and health materials were also made available to participants on various topics in their community languages.

“The participants overwhelmingly said they found the sessions of benefit. Most mums enjoyed the educational element and felt it was informative and knowing more about parenting in Australia was helpful to them. Others enjoyed simply meeting other mums and having somewhere to meet other members of their community,” Rachel said.

Many of the mums also reported using the baby massage techniques at home and found them helpful in settling the baby.

For more information on this story call Rachel on 0429 916 524 or Dearbhaile on 0429 118 770.