CareSouth Deniliquin’s Behaviour Support Practitioner, Anna Suckling works therapeutically, one-on-one, with children and young people who have experienced trauma or need
additional emotional support to be the best version of themselves. Anna also provides training and upskilling to carers and staff, creates behaviour support plans for children and young people in foster care and has recently started an Art Therapy group in Deniliquin.
“We recently started running an after-school art program
based on requests from young people in foster care,” said Anna. “Deniliquin is a typical country town in that the majority of extra-curricular activities offered to young people involve sport. CareSouth decided to address this gap; the art program has been amazing, with 10 kids from CareSouth and the wider community coming along each week.”
The group has been such a hit that Anna and her team are now organising the next round of the art program.
“I am passionate about child safety,” said Anna. “A big part of helping children and young people recover from childhood trauma is creating a safe space, like the art group, where they can express their feelings.
Creating art together has helped many of the young people feel comfortable and they have opened up about their lived experience of the child protection system, their gender identity, issues around diversity and the support that is offered to young people. They talk about the things that matter most to them and being able to openly express their feelings, without fear of judgment or discrimination, to others who understand them is so important.
“It’s also a great opportunity for children and young people in our community who don’t play sport to have access to a fun after-school activity.” Anna grew up in Deniliquin but moved away to work in a range of community services roles, including as a caseworker, counsellor, residential care support worker and with children and young people who have experienced family violence or homelessness.
Two years ago, Anna moved back to her childhood town after returning for her father’s funeral in early 2020.
“The support we received during that really difficult time made my family and I realise that Deniliquin will always be home and I missed my friends, family and our fantastic community,” said Anna. “I was so excited to bring my experience and the skills that I had learnt back to my hometown. I was lucky to get a job working for such an amazing organisation and my colleagues have become my second family.”
When Anna returned to Deniliquin her goal was to help CareSouth provide as many services as possible to support vulnerable children in regional and rural communities. Art Therapy is the first of many program ideas Anna has delivered to help children and young people heal and recover from trauma.
“I have so much I am wanting to achieve in the next five years,” said Anna. “I recently completed a diploma of counselling and want to start a social work degree next year. I want to continue to broaden my knowledge and experience working therapeutically with children and young people and I am looking forward to helping my workplace expand and provide as many services as possible to support vulnerable children in our community.”
To learn more about CareSouth Deniliquin’s Art Therapy program, contact 1300 554 260 or email email@example.com.