TANYA LANGFORD – FAMILY SUPPORT OFFICER SINCE FEB ‘12
Tanya commenced her role as Family Support Officer in Feb ’12 as she was finishing off the last units of her ECU degree ‘Bachelor of Social Science’ – this was a brand new role at PYS.
PYS Family Support is a free service to support and strengthen young people (11 to 25 yrs) and their families in the Peel Region. It provides: family relationship mediation, parenting education, advocacy, referral and linkages to appropriate government and non-government agencies and services needed to address presenting issues or barriers, ie: drug & alcohol abuse, family & domestic violence, mental health issues, homelessness, disengagement & social isolation, poverty.
- Identifying and working to overcome barriers that youth and their families face.
- Improving access to a range of resources
- Linkages to education, training, health, recreation, accommodation, Centrelink and more.
- Supporting and education parents of teens
- Improving family relationships
- Advocacy for youth and their families.
” By supporting and strengthening families we can promote positive relationships and pathways to enhance outcomes for our young people”.
Some of my personal family support highlights
- A 14yo girl had run away from home due to abuse from her mother, staying at a friends home.. I advocated for her with C/link & Education Dept to overcome multiple barriers. This girl’s life 2 years on is going fantastic.
- Mother & 2 daughters all with depression, Mum unable to work due to back injury, struggling financially not thinking they could get C/link benefits. I linked them and got all of them on benefits & linked to counselling. Mum is now a R/Estate Mngr and girls are back in edn.
- 3 teen siblings homeless.. all couch surfing at varied friends places. No father in their lives, mum with issues of mental health and drug use. (each child had been in foster cared). I advocated for them to get a rental property together and got many welfare donations to get their house fully furnished.
- I advocated for an Indigenous mother and son who had experienced horrific D.V. – son was getting into drugs and crime. Mother wanted to return to NSW to be re-united and supported by her Koori family. I raised funds to get their airfares to be able to relocate.
Tanya’s work to highlight the issue of ‘Youth Violence in the Home’ (YVITH)
Early in my role as Family support officer I identified that many of the mum’s I was working with were struggling with abuse, property damage and violence from their teens – and in conjunction with this – that many of these teens were disengaged from school and in many cases not leaving the home to mix with peers or the community.
I quickly realized the serious ‘Gap’ in WA for effectual responses and interventions. In 2015 I released the research report ‘Youth in the Peel Region who are violent in the home and/or severely disengaged’, and have done extensive networking interstate and nationally to establish a knowledge base of others working in this field and best models of practice.
In March 2016 I organized WA’s first professional training on responding to YVITH and brought the Aust. expert ‘Jo Howard’ over to facilitate and to share her experience and knowledge of providing the program ‘Step Up’ which tackles the issue of YVITH.
Since then I successfully received funding grants from the City of Mandurah and Bendigo Bank to allow Peel Youth Service to provide the ‘Step Up’ program, being one of only 2 organizations in the whole of WA to do so.
In recognition of our contributions in this field – PYS were invited to be one of only 2 WA organizations to partner in the National research project ‘PIPA’: Positive Interventions for the Perpetrators of Adolescent Violence in the Home, being conducted by RMIT University Victoria – this research team will be in WA in the week of Oct 9 – 13th and I have been invited to be a panel member at a Forum that will be held at ECU Mt. Lawley on Wed. 11th to discuss this project and provide community awareness of this issue.
In 2016 I was awarded the ‘City of Mandurah – Perth Convention Bureau Aspire Scholarship’ for the work I have done in WA in this field, and have been fortunate to have attended a conference as part of this award and hope through my collaborations to be part of a team organizing a conference here in WA that features the issue of YVITH.
(NOTE: We are currently taking Referrals for the Term 4 Step-Up Program- pls contact our office if you would like to discuss)
Local MP Andrew Hastie, David Templeman MLA, Telethon researcher Megan Ansell, and representatives from schools and support organisations gathered at Lotteries House Mandurah to celebrate the launch of the Peel Alliance Interventions for Teen Anger and Violence (PAITAV) on Thursday.
The alliance gathers local organisations, government entities and NGOs under the same banner to team up in the fight against youth violence and abuse in the Peel region.
The initiative was first drafted by local youth violence expert and Peel Youth Services worker Tanya Langford in an attempt to raise awareness about the issue and the solutions at reach within Western Australia.
PEEL YOUTH BUSH WALKS AND ADVENTURES
Recognizing the value to our young people of spending time in nature, in 2016 I applied for funding through Shire of Murray, Murray Mayday and Pinjarra Junction shopping centre grants,- and was able to commence this project. Every 2nd Sunday a group of youth and their families are provided the experience of being taken to the beautiful Dwellingup forest for a bush-walk. Since then we have also incorporated fishing adventures/kayaking and estuary walks and are planning some camp-outs.
(Please see our facebook page: Peel Youth Bush Walks and Adventures )
Youth Violence in the Home – A mums story
DISOWNING a child when they become violent and disengaged is the only option some Mandurah parents feel they have. Mrs X lives day by day hoping her 14-year-old daughter never returns to the crime-riddled, drug-fuelled life she once had. Mrs X said many parents in the region felt they had to disown their child before they could get any help for them. “There is no support,” she said. Two years ago Mrs X answered the phone to a woman who told her to check her 12-year-old’s bed. “This was the first time my daughter ran away to the drug house,” she said. “I’ve had police help me get her out but sometimes it could be up to six weeks before I’d see her again.”
In 2015 Mrs X said her daughter became involved in multiple crime sprees which involved stealing and burning out vehicles from Mandurah to Esperance. “She and others were breaking into homes when people were sleeping in their beds and stealing keys,” she said. “When she would show up at the house I would tell her to hand herself in to the police.
“She was violent towards me; I was on stress leave from work and taking medication to cope with it. “I loved my daughter but didn’t know what to do.” Ms Robinson said the response from the justice system towards her daughter’s crimes was a vicious cycle and one that didn’t help. “Peel Youth Services were the only ones who were helpful in the whole process,” she said. “She now has more than 30 criminal charges and has spent three months in custody. “I hope we have seen the worst of it.’
Peel Youth Services family support Officer Tanya Langford said others who worked in this sector agreed something needed to be done to enhance responses to youth violence in the home. With the issue growing she said no intervention programs in Western Australia specifically targeted youth violence in the home.
“Peel Youth Services has applied for funding to provide the Step Up program which is running in Victoria and South Australia,” she said.
Ms Langford said the justice system response needed to be enhanced.
Dianne’s Story’: A Testimonial from a mother
My name is Dianne and my son Michael and I have been going through this terrible situation for the past 5 years. In the beginning, there were terrible occurrences of bullying – the most severe being a group of older boys attacking my son at school with baseball bats when he was at the tender age of 7 years old. My son was always the quiet, reserved type of child, always studious and gentle natured and a target for bullies. He was picked on relentlessly for being quiet by both students and teachers. Schools would simply dismiss the events and tell me that boys will be boys and that he needed to “suck it up and toughen up”. Being cornered and attacked by a group of boys in the school yard is NOT normal and is NOT something that should be dismissed. Relentless is the only word to best describe the years of bullying at different schools – and it has changed our lives forever…
In the past 5 years, he has gone from attending school every day, to only 2 weeks this current year. Last year was about 15%, the year before 40% and so forth as you go back the last 5 years.
My once quiet and good natured boy has turned into a violent, extremely disobedient, spiteful and terrifying young man. He has destroyed property within my home, damaged my car, is repeatedly violent to me – breaking my arm on one occasion – and is essentially my 12 year old abusive husband. He constantly abuses me and yet makes calls to the police accusing me of abusing him, laughing as he hangs up and threatens me saying he knows all he has to do is lie and I go to jail. This did result in DCP investigating me this year for Child Abuse! Just last month he self- harmed and then rang my mother to ‘Rescue Him’. I cannot even begin to describe the degree of manipulation and terrifying environment I live in every single day.
We have had years of intervention with doctors, psychologists and therapy services, such as DCP, Kids Psychology, MST for 6 months, Police, Down South Therapy, CAMMS assessment, school psychologists, counsellors and Peel Youth Services (who is our current help), I have tried every suggestion but nothing has worked!. My son ignores the therapist or psychologist and refuses to participate – which means people simply give up on us. The Peel Youth Services Family Worker has been fantastic in understanding this predicament and has tried with the school and other linkages to get help. Unfortunately there are very limited services and help available to assist us in this nightmare of a situation that we are living. Won’t someone please help us?!!!! Please….
I have had to give up work to become a full time carer as my son does not like to leave the house and does not attend school regularly enough for me to maintain employment. Our financial situation is dire to say the least and we struggle day to day to make ends meet. I cannot leave the house which makes us both essentially prisoners in these four walls. We cannot keep going like this, life is slipping away and we are rotting away here in this home…Michael is now 12 years old and if things keep going as they are, I fear so much for his future. I fear that with no schooling and no socialization, he will never be able to find employment or become a decent, contributing member of society. He will become one of those drop out, forgotten individuals with failure in their future – which is a tragedy considering he is highly intelligent and a gifted computer programmer. I fear for my future too… I cannot continue to support him into his 20’s and 30’s but where can he go and what can he do with a future looking so bleak. What would happen, heaven forbid if I die and he is left alone to fend for himself? I cannot accept this kind of life is going to be for the rest of our lives…