Family Leadership & Mentoring Program - Empowering families to empower their children

  • Touma, Anastacia (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Bourke-Taylor, Helen (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • O'Tarpey, Margie (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Organisational Capacity Building through a Learning Management System for peer workers and peer volunteers.Reframing Disability (RD) employs parents & carers of children with a delay or disability as Peer Workers. Our Peer Workers are trained & employed to support other families facing similar challenges. Peer Workers have a broad set of skills from their professional background & personal experience that they draw upon when supporting families.The Learning Management System (LMS) offers a systematic way to train & develop our paid peer workers & volunteers to ensure credibility,quality of support for families & to scale up activities. It provides for peer workers and volunteers:- Induction to RD- Skills & info required to fulfil their roles, including facilitators & boundaries of a peer worker- Will allow knowledge transfer and support- Leadership meetings for peer workers & volunteers.Training for peer workers will be done in conjunction with our partners with respect to resources and program delivery, for example we will trainour peers workers as facilitators in partnership with Healthy Mothers Healthy Families (Monash University--lead Associate professor Helen Bourke-Taylor).There is a growing body of evidence related to the benefits of peer workers in early childhood intervention for families & children with disability.Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on the key principles of respect, shared responsibility & a mutual agreement ofwhat is helpful. Its a model that champions the use of personal knowledge & experience of a particular issue to help and support others whoexperience the same issue. (Bradstreet, 2006)In a study undertaken by Centre for Disability Studies (CDS, 2018) families interviewed stated the benefits of peer workers as:- providing leadership, knowledge & personal experience- a way for parents to feel empowered by their circumstances- to help new parents not feel alone- advice from someone who gets the whole picture- help to navigate the world of therapy & the system generally- new ways of looking at things- adding an extra level of depth of understanding, caring & knowledge that you only get through personal experienceThe shared life experience of Peer Workers & families enables a level of empathy & trust that helps improve the outlook & attitude of parents &further provides an alternative to a purely clinical approach to supporting the needs of children with disabilities & their families. Families alsofrequently report appreciating the community building aspect of the use of Peer Workers & are appreciative of the social bonds that are formedbetween themselves & the peer facilitators. (CDS, 2018)RD’s philosophy is as far as practicable to engage & employ families with lived experience in the management & work of RD. There are a widerange of levels of expertise skills & knowledge. RD aims to build on these foundations to ensure all parents and families can have opportunities toparticipate in the RD organisation. This not only empowers & upskills parents and families but provides essential connectivity, across peersupport & essential resources for RD.Building organisational capacity aligns with ILC imperatives to “enable systematic, nationwide access to peer support, mentoring & other skillsbuilding for people with disability, carers & families, delivered primarily by Families Organisations”
Short titleReframing Disability
Effective start/end date15/09/2028/02/23


  • Disability
  • mothers
  • families
  • peer workers
  • mental health