Therapeutic homes are at the heart of Lighthouse’s Model of Care. Our first homes were established more than 30 years ago and are carefully designed to be safe, welcoming and nurturing spaces. The type of support offered in our homes, which are spread throughout Melbourne, is targeted towards the needs of the children and young people living in them.
Lighthouse Homes are dedicated homes where young people live alongside Lighthouse carers, supported by the wider Lighthouse Care Team.
Therapeutic Tailored Care
0-17 years old
Lighthouse’s Secure Base tailored care program provides an intensive level of care to children and young people aged 0 to 17 with complex needs. These children and young people come from backgrounds of significant complex trauma, and the aim of the Secure base is to develop the capacity to be in relationship with trusting adults, from which they can then continue to grow and thrive. The children and young people who come into Lighthouse’s Secure Base program require more intensive support than Foster Care or Family Support can currently offer, due to the nature of the trauma they have experienced in their short lives. This trauma has profound negative impacts on their psychosocial, cognitive and physiological development and mental health.
In a Lighthouse Secure Base home, children and young people live alongside Therapeutic Carers, receiving 24/7 dedicated care. This tailored support, provided by an experienced team, support to stabilize the young person before then supporting the child or young person to return to family or enter foster care. This helps ensure that these children and young people have a safe place to go, who would otherwise have limited out-of-home-care options. By providing intensive support through early intervention, Lighthouse helps to prevent homelessness and future trauma, later in the lives of these children and young people.
16-25 years old
Lighthouse’s Therapeutic program, which supports young people aged 16-25, was established more than 30 years ago. Its proven success in preventing youth homelessness has paved the way for expansion, as well as specialisation, in order to support particularly vulnerable groups.
The Therapeutic Program is particularly targeted towards young people who do not yet have the skills needed to manage on their own and need therapeutic care or intervention. The program provides highly vulnerable young people with a warm, safe, Lighthouse home, 24/7 live-in care, and a dedicated Therapeutic Case Manager to help them to heal from trauma and develop living skills. It focuses on the development of practical, emotional and interpersonal living skills to enable young people to heal and thrive when they move into independent living. Typically, young people move from the Therapeutic Program into the Transitional Program as their confidence and self-care abilities grow.
16-25 years old
Lighthouse’s Transitional Program supports young people up to the age of 25 experiencing homelessness to develop the skills and capacity to live independently. Through Therapeutic Case management, the program bridges the gap between intensive therapeutic support and fully independent living, for those who may not have the capacity, structures or supports around them to sustain independent living themselves.
The Transitional Program provides a structured and supportive environment in which the young person can share their goals with their Lighthouse community to work alongside them to achieve them. The Transitional Program has a greater outward and forward focused lens, in comparison to other Lighthouse programs, with a strong emphasis on engaging young people in external activities including education, work and developing independent living skills. Therapeutic Case Managers help the young people identify and strengthen their existing skills and capacities, to equip them with the tools they need to live fully independently.
Lighthouse homes that are part of the Transitional Program do not have live-in Therapeutic Carers, rather, they have Therapeutic Case Managers who work from the homes during the week and provide support based on the needs of the young people living there. The young people who will live together in a Transitional home are carefully and thoughtfully matched, with the objective of supporting each young person to live safe, happy and fulfilling lives.
Young people may reside within the Transitional Program for 18-24 months, depending on their needs. While in the program they will be supported to:
- Developing the function to care for themselves and their relationships.
- Develop the skills to live collaboratively with others and have their voices heard.
- Be actively involved in Lighthouse young people interventions.
- Be engaged in a day program (educational, vocational and/or hobbies).
- Participate in Lighthouse and wider community events.
Special Focus Programs
Young Women’s Freedom
The Young Women’s Freedom Program began in 2018 in response to an urgent need to provide safe homes and therapeutic care to young women escaping, or at risk of, modern slavery practices including forced marriage and domestic servitude, as well as other forms of gender-based violence. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery and exploitation. This program is currently in operation across both Therapeutic and Transitional homes, supporting young women from various cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Young Women’s Freedom focuses on providing a safe and secure home for vulnerable young women where they can regain agency over their lives. Lighthouse supports young women in the program with connection to culture and self through tailored therapeutic intervention, implementing a holistic care team of support in collaboration with innovative external services, as well as supporting the young women to have sustainable connection to family and community
A 2020, evaluation of the Young Women’s Freedom Program demonstrated that young women in the program experienced a deep sense of physical and emotional containment by their Lighthouse Therapeutic Care Team, the environment of the safe home itself and Lighthouse wider therapeutic community. Young women felt that the homes themselves provide a physical holding function which contributed to internal feelings of safety and comfort, and that they were able to develop trusting relationships with each other, their Therapeutic Carers, and for some, more positive relationships with their families of origin and local communities.
Young Parents and Babies
At Lighthouse, we know that a safe, nurturing, consistent home environment for children provides them with the best chance at a healthy and fulfilling life, which is why our highly successful Young Parents and Babies Program provides targeted support for both young parents and their children. This program provides therapeutic care in Lighthouse homes for vulnerable young parents and their children, helping them heal from trauma they have experienced and build healthy relationships and establish routines with their children. The Young Parents and Babies Program addresses the root causes of youth homelessness by interrupting the cycle of intergenerational trauma and homelessness. Therapeutic Carers and Case Managers in the program support young parents by role modelling parenting techniques, teaching essential life skills and helping them to develop strong attachments with their babies, leading to more young families being successfully transitioned into fully independent living.
Lighthouse’s therapeutic case management provides appropriate tailored interventions for each young parent and baby, including external maternal and child health professionals, pediatricians and speech therapists. Social skills are developed through playgroups, music sessions, meditation and baby massage. When they feel ready, parents are assisted to reconnect with education and training, professional work and other goals they want to pursue. The Young Women’s Freedom and the Young Parents and Babies special focus programs has both Therapeutic and Transitional homes, dependent on the level of support needed for both the young parents and their children. All homes within this program are specifically designed for young parents and babies, and are equipped with high-chairs, cots, toys, educational materials and other parenting resources. Modelling good parenting, and teaching essential life skills, the experienced carers in these homes help the young parents establish strong bonds of attachment with their baby.
The Young Parents and Babies program was established in 2010 with the support of Lighthouse Life Member and Founding Patron Vicki Vidor OAM, and has already yielded life-changing results and enduring outcomes for two generations of vulnerable young people. A 2020 program evaluation found that the program not only helped young parents feel safer and build heathier attachments with their children, it also supported families to stay together. Young parents felt more confident in their parenting skills and were able to transition from the program into more stable housing as compared to their housing on joining the program.