Children and Mothers in Mind
Children and Mothers in Mind (CMiM) is an Australian-first program designed for mothers and children under four years, who have experienced trauma such as family violence, childhood abuse or sexual assault.
Through a mother and child play-based group program, it focuses on the needs of mothers who have found that the hurt they have experienced has made parenting difficult, and resources them with strategies to become the mothers they want to be.
CMiM resources mothers to:
- Talk about parenting issues and learn from other mothers who have had similar experiences through the group dynamic
- Build a positive mother-child relationship through spending quality time playing with their child
- Discover helpful ways to cope with their anger, worry and stress in a safe and supportive environment
- Increase their confidence in responding to their children in a sensitive and caring manner and learn how to support children exposed to trauma
- Explore and learn what helps children feel safe and secure
- Bond with other participants to reduce mother-child isolation
- Find practical ways to take some time out for themselves during this busy stage of life.
Outcomes for CMiM participants
The University of Melbourne has evaluated CMiM with a number of aims including understanding the extent to which participating in the program changes mothers’ understanding about the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting and how effectively it improves mother-child relationships.
A copy of the final CMIM Evaluation Final Report 12 Sep 2019.pdf.
A snapshot of the report findings demonstrate the participants’ views on CMiM effectiveness, including:
- 97.8% of those surveyed felt more confident in their parenting
- 100% learnt helpful ways to cope with anger, worry and stress
- 100% said the program helped them to better understand their child
- 97.8% noticed changes in their relationship with their child as a result of the program.
“Sometimes I'd go to group and be like, "This week (my child) was just really struggling with this." We'd discuss it, and then I'd go home and I'd try out whatever they said, and come back and go, "Oh, my God it worked." Or "Oh, my God, (my child’s) anxiety is not as bad as it was”. [Participant]
“I learnt that I'm not a bad person for what's happened. I'm a great mother regardless of what's happened. I support my daughter solely by myself every day, so we're doing something right.” [Participant]
“Doing these exercises and talking about things has made me realize that this connection is special and that it is unique. I am important to him and that was something that I felt my ex-partner had pretty much diminished in me.” [Participant]
• the Connections psycho-educational program for mothers and children experiencing violence in relationships, developed by Mothercraft in Canada
• the Mothers in Mind (MIM) playgroup-based program, developed by Dr Angelique Jenney (University of Calgary, Canada) Child Development Institute
• one-to-one support, through counselling, case support and referral, and brokerage.
The Child Development Institute (CDI), an accredited children’s mental health agency in Canada offering early intervention, family violence and early learning programs, initially developed the program in 2006. The CDI partnered with Kids First to deliver this program in Victoria.