Bumblebees Program celebrates 20th anniversary at Phoenix House
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Bumblebees Program celebrates 20th anniversary at Phoenix House

Bumblebees Program celebrates 20th anniversary at Phoenix House

by Freya Lucas

April 11, 2023

A unique program designed to support children who have been harmed, or were at risk of harm from sexual and family violence is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year in Bundaberg, Queensland. 


The Bumblebees Program at Phoenix House was established in 2003, and at that time was the first in Australia to offer a therapeutic response for children in a preschool format who had been harmed, or were at risk of harm from sexual and family violence.


Modelled on the Kempe Therapeutic Preschool based in Colorado, USA, and adapted to an Australian context the program was initially made possible by research funding from the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.


The program provides assessment, therapeutic intervention, education and support for parents, carers, and others involved with the children’s care, and is staffed by tertiary-qualified workers who use evidence-based tools and interventions to focus on essential areas such as emotional regulation, positive peer relationships, and protective behaviours education. It aims to increase protective factors and resilience for young children while reducing risk factors and early trauma’s impact.


Acting Board Chair Jo Leveritt spoke with local media, saying there is a growing body of research demonstrating the importance of protective factors in fostering resilience and promoting healthy development in children.


“As children develop increased resilience, the ripple effect will be experienced across the community, leading to a brighter future for everyone,“ Ms Leveritt told Bundaberg Today.


During the challenges of pandemic restrictions the program went mobile, and is now offered in several key locations around Bundaberg to make the program more accessible.


Classes on protective behaviours for parents who want to know how to talk to their children and what they can do to keep them safe are also being offered. Despite the success and enormous value of the program, Phoenix House CEO Jason Scadden-Rushton said funding for the program has been “a constant fight,” with the program coming close to closing once in 2009 and again in 2015.


“Both times we were ultimately saved by community support,“ Mr Scadden-Rushton told the paper.


“Although the program was finally granted a longer-term funding contract with the Federal Department of Social Services in 2021, the program continues to need help to meet the demand for services within the community,” he said. 


You can access more information about the program here. The original coverage of this story is available here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button