The Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s Australian-first initiative, the Cubby House, will be introduced at the Melbourne Children’s Court by the end of the year.
The Cubby House provides sanctuary and support for vulnerable children whose lives have been disrupted by family disputes. It was launched at the Broadmeadows Children’s Court in October 2015, in partnership with the Children’s Court of Victoria (CCV) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The Broadmeadows Cubby House is Australia’s first purpose-built space – within a court building – with a dedicated youth worker to support children and includes games, books, an outdoor area and a range of other fun activities. The child’s assigned DHHS support worker can also supervise the child via an adjoining office.
The Melbourne Children’s Court Cubby House is expected to cater for 2,000 children a year – double the number supported at Broadmeadows.
At Broadmeadows, children, aged between 10 and 17, make use of the space while cases relating to their families are heard in nearby courtrooms, providing a distraction from the often confronting reality they deal with in their respective family situations.
The Cubby House has received unanimously positive feedback from the community as well as an independent evaluation, which has called for the model to be rolled out in court buildings across the country.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Lesley Podesta said the introduction of the Broadmeadows Cubby House had been fantastic for children and their families located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. She said it was another way the Foundation was expanding its services – which include care, prevention and advocacy initiatives - to support vulnerable children.
Ms Podesta said the Foundation was overjoyed that the initiative would be rolled out in more courts, which would in turn support thousands more Victorian children each year.
“The Foundation is so proud of the positive impact the first Cubby House has had on children in Melbourne’s northern suburbs,’’ Ms Podesta said.
“We are honoured to work with all of our partners to ensure more children receive the benefits of the Cubby House model, firstly at the Melbourne Children’s Court and hopefully others in the months and years to come.”
Children’s Court of Victoria President Judge Amanda Chambers said the Cubby House was designed to provide a child focused, supportive and distracting environment for vulnerable children involved in proceedings in the Children's Court.
“The Children’s Court is delighted that the Cubby House initiative is to be expanded to the Melbourne Children’s Court,’’ Judge Chambers said.
“This will ensure that many more children will benefit from this highly successful and innovative support service provided by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation."
For more information about the Cubby House and the Foundation go to amf.org.au.
Media inquiries contact Adrian Bernecich: 0416 045 701 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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