The Mirabel Foundation is the only organisation in Australia which exists to address the needs of children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental substance abuse. Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future. The tragedy of drug‐related deaths is compounded by the children left behind. Children without family may find themselves in foster care, sometimes separated from their siblings. Many go into the care of extended family (kinship care), usually with elderly grandparents who have little or no financial or social support. A key focus for the charity is to provide these children with the emotional and practical support they need, to lead a normal childhood.
Mirabel provides advocacy, referral, research, practical and emotional assistance to the children and their kinship carers. The charity’s many and varied programmes focus on minimising the negative impact of parental substance abuse on young people, assisting them to reach their full potential. Programmes include early intervention, recreation, youth support, family camps and events, respite, volunteering, kinship carer support, social awareness programmes and therapeutic groups.
A donation from ICAP Charity Day 2013 has enabled Mirabel to continue its mission, and despite the increasing number of referrals, never turn a child in need away. Funds raised by ICAP Sydney went towards Mirabel’s NSW Peer Support and Social Inclusion Programme which supports the establishment and development of positive relationships for vulnerable young people.
Amelia has grown since she returned from her weekend with Mirabel and now has some new friends to turn to in tough times. Your programmes are terrific and you have helped the most out of anyone we’ve had contact with. Please do not underestimate how much your efforts are appreciated.John, grandfather and full time carer of Amelia (11)
Substance abuse continues to have negative consequences for the most vulnerable in Australia’s community and children remain the most frequently overlooked sufferers. Targeted and early intervention can mean the difference between family breakdown and children thriving. All children and young people need a safe and nurturing home environment, a sense of belonging, supportive networks and referral to appropriate services in order to overcome the challenges they face.
I learnt that I’m not impossible to like and there are even some people in this world who think I’m pretty cool. The friends I made at Mirabel are so different to the kids at school. They get me and I get them.Cassie (15)
The Mirabel NSW Peer Support and Social inclusion Programme provides all this through the provision of essential respite for struggling grandparents while their children participate in camps, Family Fun Days and large group events. Mirabel’s recreational activities and camps create a safe, happy environment, where children can find comfort in the company of others who understand their difficult past. Shared experiences make this programme the perfect place for a child to begin to heal – a place where fond childhood memories are forged and isolation and despair is eradicated.
Thank you to everyone involved with Mirabel. From family support who was so wonderful listening to me and my problems and patiently sat with me in court to those that so such amazing work at the camps. My grandchildren and I are much happier today because of all of you.Narelle grandmother and full time carer of Matthew (12), Bekky (10) and Nathan (9)
ICAP Sydney’s donation funded the NSW programme for a 12 month period. Enabling the charity to support many more vulnerable children, their families and carers. Family Days and camps provided opportunities for these young people to be challenged in a supportive environment and learn coping skills, they also support the establishment and development of positive relationship building. Thanks to the support of ICAP this vital programme continues to flourish and reach the growing number of children and young people Mirabel supports.