Kelly Family Foundation | Berry Street
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Berry Street

About This Project

About Berry Street

Berry Street believes that all children should have a good childhood, growing up feeling safe, nurtured and with hope for the future. They work directly with children, young people and families affected by the impact of family violence, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and unemployment.

About Berry Street’s Take Two Program

Berry Street’s Take Two program is a Victoria-wide program funded by the State Government to provide intensive therapeutic services for children of all ages who have experienced serious abuse and neglect and who are child protection clients. Many, but not all, of these children are in out- of-home care.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma and neglect can lead to physical and emotional dysregulation that can mean a child or young person finds it difficult to feel in control of their own body, emotions and behaviours. One way of understanding and hence feeling more in control is through putting together the information we get from our senses. Traumatised children often have problems processing information coming in from the outside world from touch, smell, taste, sight and the way the body moves in space. Traumatised children can experience these senses in ways that aren’t always clear to others, and differences might not be apparent to the child either.

The need for a Mental Health Occupational Therapist

Developments in the field of neuroscience highlight the importance of better understanding the physical and sensory needs of infants, children and young people and the way these needs then interact with feelings and behaviours. With a better understanding,  more comprehensive and better targeted interventions can be provided to help children heal from the trauma of abuse. The task of responding to children’s sensory needs requires new professional expertise from a Mental Health Occupational Therapist to complement the current Take Two workforce of psychologists, social workers and nurses.

Kelly Family Foundation Commitment

From July 2015 to June 2018, the Kelly Family Foundation supported Berry Street’s Take Two Program to employ a Mental Health Occupational Therapist who can lead this new initiative within Take Two. The Mental Health OT works within the Take Two team conducting individual assessment of infants, children and young people, as well as helping others conduct sensory assessments where appropriate. At the end of this period, Berry Street was able to demonstrate the success of this role and secure outside funding.

With the Mental Health Occupational Therapist a success, we began a new commitment from July 2018 to June 2021 to support the employment of a Mental Health Speech Pathologist at Berry Street.

The speech pathologist works with Berry Street & Take Two to:

  • Better understand the speech and language needs of the infants, children and young people they are trying to help
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses in brain growth and development
  • Develop more effective treatment plans for their clients
  • Demonstrate to governments and other potential funders the value of this contribution to a multidisciplinary team
The KFF is proud to support Berry Street & Take Two and is excited by the opportunity not only to help children who have experienced trauma, but also the opportunity to support a research component that can advance our understanding of communication development and develop techniques that can help mental health and speech professionals worldwide.
We support