Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future in order for them to reach their full potential as young adults.
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. These are Mirabel children. And it’s our determined focus to provide them with all the emotional and practical support they need to have the most normal childhood possible.
The child is central to Mirabel's organisational structure. All of Mirabel's programs and services are built around the needs of the child, their kinship carers and their community.
Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future in order for them to reach their full potential as young adults. Mirabel believes that investing in children is the most compassionate and economic investment we can make.
Mirabel provides advocacy, referral, research, practical and emotional assistance to the children and their kinship carers. We lead the way in providing a community response to these families and reducing the stigma and isolation they experience. Our many and varied programs include:
"Mirabel is the most wonderful foundation that has brought a lot of happy times and support during difficult times."
Daniel, grandfather carer
Mirabel’s Early Intervention Program provides intake, assessment and referral for new families as well as those who are experiencing a current crisis. This program ensures that vulnerable children receive sufficient practical and emotional support to enable them to remain with their siblings in appropriate and nurturing family environments.
"Mirabel is a place where you get to meet other kids in your situation."
Jake, 12 years
Mirabel’s Recreation Program reduces isolation and the stigma of parental drug use through the provision of exciting recreational experiences. Bringing large numbers of children together results in a sense of connection and acceptance amongst the children that can only be achieved through the realisation that you are not alone in your experiences. Who would have thought that recreation could mean so much?
"Mirabel is a fun, loving place that helps you when you’re feeling down."
Amy, 10 years
Mirabel’s Therapeutic Groups provide a forum for children to address and share their grief, trauma, laughter and tears with empathy for one another. Through the provision of regular therapeutic activities and the support of their peers, the children are able to identify and manage their feelings more effectively and practice healthy ways of expressing themselves.
"Mirabel is somewhere that I can talk about anything and they understand."
Miles, 14 years
Mirabel works closely with young people aged 13–18 years who are experiencing crisis and are potentially at a high risk of repeating the destructive behaviours of their parents. Mirabel’s youth workers help the young people to remain connected at school, build stronger relationships with their kinship carers, practice safe behaviours and develop a positive outlook on life.
"Mirabel gives kids a sense of hope."
Harry, 12 years
Mirabel’s Education Program provides educational assessment, school resources, advocacy and tutoring for young people who are struggling with essential literacy and numeracy skills. Improving the academic outcomes of these young people improves their options for the future and ultimately provides a pathway out of the cycle of poverty, low self-esteem and disadvantage.
Family Camps & Events
"Mirabel is an amazing organisation who makes us feel part of society when faced with the biggest challenge of our lives."
Michael, grandfather carer.
Mirabel’s Family Camps and Events meet the needs of large numbers of children and carers at one time. These experiences are not only extremely powerful for the participants, they are also the most financially sustainable way to cater for the growing numbers of Mirabel families. Kinship carers report a great sense of relief and renewed perspective after participating in the program.
"Mirabel is a friend - someone I can turn to when I need help."
Shelley, aunt carer.
Mirabel’s Respite Program provides a safe haven for children while their carers have a break from the demands of caring for a young family. Often unprepared for the relentless challenges of young children, respite care enables kinship carers to maintain the energy levels that they require to stay in good health whilst providing the children with positive experiences away from their primary carers.
Kinship Carer Support Groups
"Mirabel is my life saver. They help get you through the grief…"
Penny, grandmother carer
Mirabel’s Kinship Carer Support Groups provide parenting information, peer support and understanding for previously isolated grandparents and other kinship carers. Improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of kinship carers is a crucial factor in providing for the long-term safety and stability of the Mirabel children. These groups have become an essential lifeline of support and understanding for kinship carers.
"It feels like I get more out of being on camp than the kids. I wish I could do more."
Christie, Mirabel volunteer
Mirabel’s Volunteer Program provides opportunities for individuals to become involved with Mirabel activities and establish a connection to the community. With the help of our many volunteers, Mirabel is able to meet the needs of the growing group of children whilst keeping our operating costs to a minimum. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to reach as far and wide as we do.
Social Awareness Programs
"Mirabel is an organisation that helps young people who don’t live with their parents."
Jessie, 10 years
Mirabel continues to work hard to bring about social change for the Mirabel children and their kinship carers. We advocate for change at a government, community and social level. Our aim is for Mirabel children to be able to walk with their heads held high, without judgement, knowing that we all understand and can help with the struggles they face.
"All these years I never knew there were so many kids like me. It feels good to know I'm not alone." Kitty, 14 years
Kitty is 14 years old and been living with her Nan and Pop for the past year. Kitty’s Dad died suddenly when she was 10. No one ever explained to Kitty how her Dad had died but she remembers being picked up from school by a neighbour and staying at their house until her Mum collected her late that night. Kitty has only recently started talking about that time.
Kitty’s Mum started to behave differently and started isolating herself from friends and family. Kitty thought it was somehow her fault that her Dad had died and that her Mum blamed her. Whatever she did nothing seemed to make it better. Sometimes her Mum would stay away all day and night but Kitty didn’t tell anyone in case it made her Mum angrier.
Kitty’s Mum died from a drug overdose when Kitty was 13. She knew as soon as she saw her Pop waiting outside the school that something dreadful had happened. She stayed with her grandparents that night and has been with them ever since. They have always told Kitty that none of this was her fault and how much her parents loved her but she is only just beginning to believe it. Through meeting other Mirabel children Kitty is realising there are lots of children like her. Her sad memories will never completely disappear but with the help of grief counselling she’s now able to talk about those times and feels some excitement for the years ahead.
Since moving in with her grandparents Kitty has been to school every day, something that was too difficult to achieve before. She and her Nan are planning a party for her 15th birthday – this will be the first birthday party she has had since her Dad died.
"I have heaps of fun with the other kids at Mirabel. It feels good to be happy and forget about your worries for a while." Sherad, 11 years
Sherad has been attending Mirabel’s therapeutic boys group for the past 8 months. At first he found it hard to mix with the other boys and he was shy and reserved. He had witnessed a lot of violence when his Mum was alive and was there the day his Dad shot his Mum in a drug induced fight. It was his job to call the ambulance and shield his three younger sisters from the trauma. He feels safe now that he lives with his grandparents and they take him to see his Dad in prison each month. His Dad talks about being together again but Sherad knows that he will be an adult before his Dad is out of prison. Sherad’s grandparents say that he has relaxed a lot since starting in the boys group. He talks of friends and fun times where he is able to be a child for a while. When he comes home the happiness continues as he resumes his role as big brother and third carer to his three sisters. He is responsible and old beyond his years but he now has a place to go where he feels comfortable enough to dream about a happy future.
"My Daddy is always sick and his medicine makes him sleepy." Tahana, 3 years
Tahana is 3 years old and has recently moved to live with her great aunt Ruby. Her Mum is in prison for drug-related crime and her Dad is unable to care for her due to his addiction to drugs. Tahana knows a lot for a 3 year old and has remarkable survival skills. She can find a way to reach food in the highest of cupboards and can work the DVD player like a teenager. Ruby was asked to care for Tahana when Child Protection found her wandering the streets looking for food. Ruby is committed to the long-term health and happiness of Tahana and says that she wants her to have a normal childhood. She has started attending Mirabel’s kinship carer support groups where she has met lots of people in a similar situation to herself. Tahana and Ruby spent a cherished weekend together at Mirabel House where they strengthened their relationship away from the stresses of day to day living. They are looking forward to the next Family Day where Tahana can begin to make friends with children just like her – friendships that Ruby hopes will continue when Tahana is old enough to join Mirabel’s Recreation Program and Therapeutic Children’s Groups.