Eleven year old boy talking to a parent,guardian or social worker
Stepping Stones is a new program to help children recover from the impacts of trauma with a focus on the child’s mental health, wellbeing and development.

A new free program is now available in Canberra for children under 12 years old who have experienced trauma.

Stepping Stones will be delivered by CatholicCare, and will support children and their families to recover from the impacts of trauma with a focus on the mental health, wellbeing and development of the child.

The service will provide psychological treatment for symptoms of trauma including nightmares, anxiety and grief. Support will also be available for children to develop skills that may not have developed properly due to a traumatic situation.

The ACT’s Primary Health Network, Capital Health Network (CHN), is funding the service, and CEO Megan Cahill said the program will use a multidisciplinary team approach to treatment.

“Stepping Stones is essential to ensure children impacted by trauma receive timely and specialist treatment and don’t fall through the gaps,” she said.

CatholicCare CEO Anne Kirwan said the developing brain is much more susceptible to the impact of trauma in childhood and, if left untreated, can cause health issues.  

“If untreated, childhood trauma such as a car accident or repeated traumatic incidents such as abuse or witnessing family violence can adversely impact a child’s social and physical health outcomes,” Ms Kirwan said.

“For example, we know that in Australia, one in six women and one in 16 men have experienced emotional, physical or sexual violence from a current or previous partner, and that much of this abuse has been witnessed by children.”

Families and carers will also be able to access support to understand the impact of trauma on children and assist them to support the child’s recovery.

The service is currently available to children under 12 who are not currently receiving psychological support for trauma, with a thorough assessment required to determine if the service is suitable for the child’s needs.

For more information on the program, contact CatholicCare on 6163 7600 or visit their website.