Plumtree is incubating a Peer Network and Family Leadership initiative for parents of young children with disabilities and delays in their development. This evidence-based 8-week group program is up and running here in Sydney.
The program is delivered by peer facilitators who receive training and leadership development to support their effective work with families. As of August 2017, 170 parents have taken part in the Now and Next program.
Once each group of families have completed the course, they subsequently become connected with the network. This alumni group then continues to meet face to face and through various technology-based mechanisms in order to inform, support and motivate each other to aim high and see new opportunities for their child now and in the future.
The network will expand throughout NSW Australia in 2017 to provide the program to another 150 families, including in community languages, and National roll-out is imminent. We already have 10 peer facilitators who speak six languages and we will train another 10 peer facilitators by June 2018. Participants of this network include a high rate of culturally diverse families and fathers attendance is between 30%-50%.
We are also creating participatory action research so that the families will become co-researchers in documenting the development of this initiative.
The Network’s collective agenda and long-term vision are to “build a social movement to inspire a new generation of parents of young children with disabilities to lead their family’s progress, drawing from a sustainable and deeply embedded peer-networked foundation of knowledge, capacity and creativity”.
Check out the Now & Next Alumni blog