In late October, Susan Barkan, Associate Director of Research at Partners for Our Children, Laura Orlando, Project Director of Strive, and Kimberlee Shoecraft, wonderful Strive trainer, all travelled to Australia. They are spending a week introducing and training an adapted version of Strive.
Strive aims to humanize the way that parents visit with their children in foster care by helping them navigate the system and maintain or build strong bonds with their children. Parents are matched with a “Visit Navigator” who meets with them for five one-on-one sessions each week before visiting with their child.
The Strive team is partnering with Uniting, an NGO serving the Australian state of New South Wales. Uniting plans to offer the adapted program as part of their Permanency Support and Family Support Programs. During late October and early November Strive U.S.A. will train 24 new Australian participants, 16 of whom are being trained as “Contact Partners,” the equivalent to “Visit Navigators,” to deliver Strive, and 14 of whom are also being trained to train other Contact Partners.
During the visit, Laura and Susan also are meeting with key child welfare professionals and other stakeholders, including Tracey Burton, the Executive Director of Uniting, and Honorable Paul Fletcher, MP, Minister of Families and Social Services, an Australian Cabinet level appointment.