The Victorian Arabic Social Services (VASS) Family Services consists of intake, assessment and referral services, family counselling, family strengthening projects, parent information sessions and family support groups and playgroups. VASS has Family Services at its locations in Broadmeadows and Dandenong offices.
VASS Family Services is funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCHSIA). This service aims to meet the needs of the Arabic Speaking Background (ASB) families through ongoing counselling and case management, information provisions, access to social support and referral to local services based on a formal intake process and assessment of needs. The ASB communities face a number of issues such as unemployment, settlement issues, mental and psychological health concerns, social isolation, cultural and linguistic barriers and lack of access to services. Families also face family-specific issues such as family violence, parenting issues including parenting in a new culture, intergenerational conflict and cultural clashes. VASS aims to address these issues through social support groups, short and long term case work, culturally sensitive approaches to service provision and appropriate referrals.
All VASS workers have Police and Working With Children checks and the Family Support program caters to a range of issues with families, especially in ASB speaking communities. The roles of the Arabic Families Services Coordinator are, but not limited to:
- Case management of Families, including counselling and advocacy
- Coordinate the intake and referral of ASB families and individuals
- Network with stakeholders in support of ASB families
- Provision of workshops and forums addressing topics of importance to this target group and including participation from representative of other relevant
The Parenting Information sessions aim to empower parents with knowledge in a range of topics, as well as providing a source of social support and connections between parents, and creating increased understanding between ASB parents and mainstream service providers. The sessions are often facilitated by professionals from external services, such as Maternal Child Health professionals, and cover a range of topics such as adolescent violence, children’s development and mental health, the impact on children of witnessing domestic violence, the Australian legal system, appropriate disciplining and parenting in a new culture, and soothing techniques for infants.