Select a community support network in your area and discuss what services it provides for the community, how accessible it is, and who accesses it. Uniting Care Burnside

Essay by k-la July 2004

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Uniting Care Burnside

Uniting Care Burnside is a non-government agency of the Uniting Church, which aims to "provide a just and safe society for all young people and their families-because children matter."(Uniting Care Burnside brochure, pg 4)

The Dubbo department opened over twenty years ago following the merger of several similar services. Eventually the original residential homes of Badalla House and Dalmar were closed, and the Government surplus from this was re-issued to Burnside. It was obvious that the far west region of New South Wales was in need of a youth and family network of this demeanour, hence the highly developed and reliable service that is Burnside today.

Burnside is not directly accessible to the general public. As they are a Department of Community Services (DoCS) contracted network, all children are referred to them by DoCS only. This is beneficial to Burnside as limited funds and resources enforce a strict criteria as to who accesses their support services.

When a family fits into the criteria, which suggests they are underprivileged, vulnerable or dysfunctional, steps will be taken to break the cycle of these downturns. In extreme cases, such steps will include the child or children being removed from the home either temporarily or permanently.

When a child is referred to Burnside, a number of support programs are available to them. A short-term program involves the child undergoing out of home care (foster care) for approximately three months. This is most common in cases where the child's behavioural and emotional patterns need constant attention and improvement for this short time period. In most cases the child is able to re-enter the family home after this time, however, if this is not suitable the child will become a state ward or be re-entered into the short term program.

In cases...