What is Rainbows for the Children of Australia?
Rainbows for the Children of Australia (Rainbows Australia), founded in USA in 1983, is a registered charity that provides programs in grief-support and harm prevention for children, adolescents and adults who are confronting a significant loss or painful transition in their lives.
The Rainbows Australia is a registered company (ACN 081 250 142) limited by guarantee with an ABN 36 081 250 142.
What is the Rainbows Program?
Rainbows is actually a suite of programs, each consisting of Facilitator-led weekly peer support sessions for children who are experiencing a significant life altering crisis or painful transition.
When something significant happens in a family, the whole family is affected, yet, because of age and short life experience, children find it difficult to verbalise their feelings.
These peer support programs also include a harm prevention approach that addresses the areas of depression, loss and grief, family break-down , suicide prevention, deliberate self-harm and parenting skills.
How is the Rainbows Program delivered?
Rainbows programs are supported by Facilitators who have been trained by Registered Trainers. Recognising that those in emotional pain, especially children and adults, need and deserve someone they can trust to guide them through the process of loss, Rainbows has developed peer-support programs that are led by a trained adult Facilitator.
Why is a group no larger than 5 participants?
Research led Suzy Yehl Marta and her early colleagues to suggest that up to 5 participants in each group is the maximum to allow each the freedom and space to contribute.
Why is the journal of each participant private?
This allows each participant the freedom to write about his/her experience and feelings without the necessity to focus on grammar or handwriting. The process is similar to the process employed in adult journaling. Participants are then given the option to share or not. Research indicates that what we write by hand is retained more than when we use a keyboard. Facilitators are asked to respect the privacy of each participant and only look at the journal when invited by the child to do so.
What happens to the journals after the program is completed each year?
The participants are given a choice. They can keep them or often a discussion occurs within the group as to their disposal. Often as a group the participants have torn them up, shredded them or even burnt them. Such rituals speak to the participants.
Why don’t we share with parents what is talked about in each group?
Confidentiality is a hallmark of this process and parents who wish to discover what their children have said are encouraged to approach the child him/herself. Children will often ask if the facilitator intends to tell their parents what they say. Participants have the choice to discuss what they have said with a parent but not what any other participant has said or done. Facilitators are bound by this confidentiality as well. The exception is when a child discloses that they are self-harming or being abused. Facilitators are then obligated to follow the Mandatory Code of Reporting. Each Registered Site will have this Code.
How often have the journals been updated?
Over the years since Rainbows has been conducted in Australia the journals and manuals have been updated four times. Each of the current Rainbows’ journals (Primary levels) has its own set of unique characters whose individual stories are interwoven throughout the meetings/sessions. The children portrayed are of different ethnic backgrounds, each of whom is dealing with their own personal issue of loss. E.G In the Junior primary journal there are four children, one child is part of a family where his parents are divorced, another lives with her father and sister as her mother has died. A third child lives in a stepfamily and has a stepfather and two stepsisters, while the fourth lives with her grandmother and her mother is in prison.
What is the connection with USA?
Rainbows Australia likes to maintain links with USA because it was the Rainbows HQ there who supported us when Rainbows began in Australia. In the early days USA guided us, provided material, and conducted the first Facilitator Trainings until as a fledgling team a group of Registered Trainers were set up in Australia. USA have continued their support as they develop new material and permit Australia to adapt or purchase same. Since the death of the founder of Rainbows, Suzy Yehl Marta ,in 2013, the Australian Board has continued to liaise with each subsequent President of Rainbows in USA.
How do I contact the Australian Board?
Visit the link under Contact Us to the left of each screen.
How did Rainbows begin?
Rainbows began officially in Chicago in USA in 1983 after extensive research and development by Suzy Yehl Marta. Her own divorce left her in a quandary as to how to support her three sons. Suzy worked closely with a Priest named Fr Medard Laz and gathering a small group of like-minded people they spent four or five years of trialling and working with local school sites before officially launching the program. In 1985 a NSW priest trained with Suzy in Chicago and brought the program back to his own local parish. In 1987 another person trained in Chicago and returned with it to the diocese of Sandhurst in Victoria. After that four people from the then Melbourne CFWB trained in Chicago. In 1993 Suzy Yehl Marta and her team visited Victoria and trained a large group of Facilitators. This launched the program in Australia.
Who can be part of the Management Team?
An accredited Registered Trainer who has had experience of the program is the ideal member of this Team.
What are the responsibilities of the Management Team?
The management Team is a collaborative body made up of those who represent the various states where Rainbows is conducted. It is their privilege to provide support to the Australian Board as to the best way to deliver the program. Their support often informs the policy decided by the Board and provides directions to our suppliers of the Rainbows material – Spectrum Publications-.They have been responsible for updating both the journals and the manuals and for making decisions that are based on issues which arise related to the challenges delivering the program e.g. the conduct of the Celebrate Me Sessions and the number of weekly sessions deemed appropriate in our changing school systems.
Why are Rainbows programs only operating in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania?
Rainbows can only operate where there are Registered Trainers (RTs) accredited to train Facilitators. The above three states are currently those with an active RT.