It's not every day we receive acknowledgement for the work that we do. One of our caseworkers, Jodi, recently received this beautiful letter from the parents of a woman she worked with at the Brighter Futures program in regional NSW.

Brighter Futures is a program that delivers targeted early intervention services to families who are at high risk of entering the child protection system. This week is National Families Week – a timely opportunity to celebrate the way our work impacts families by sharing this first-hand example.

This is what they wrote:

Dear Jodi,

I write to offer our sincere thanks to you personally for the amazing work you have done to assist our daughter Ashleigh* during the past 12 months. It is a pleasure to watch her grow in confidence and move forward with her life.

My husband and I are truly grateful to you and Mission Australia's Brighter Futures program, as we believe it has protected our daughter and her two small children from self-destruction and a life lived forever in poor social circumstances with no hope for a better life.

Ashleigh has been a challenge for us all her life and five years ago became involved in a relationship that was doomed from the outset. It resulted, happily, in the arrival of two boys but also, sadly, a lot of domestic and financial trauma for them. We were very stressed and at our wits end trying to assist Ashleigh through a traumatic time whilst living in another town, still holding our own full-time jobs, running our lives and also being responsible for her younger brother who needed our support and attention in a different way to Ashleigh.

We are so grateful for the difference that you and Brighter Futures have made to Ashleigh, her boys, and for us. You have been a vital support for Ashleigh and the perfect guide to help her navigate the many hurdles she faced trying to establish herself post separation, whilst suffering from the effects of emotional, physical and financial abuse. I believe your own personality, genuine and down to earth manner, and commitment, is just as important as your professionalism and training in your skilful management of Brighter Futures.

I trust that the program will continue to receive the funding that is fundamental to enable it to continue into the future, supporting and guiding those people who really need extra help at a critical time in their lives, and cannot get in anywhere else.

Children so often don't listen to their parents' advice, and this was our Ashleigh, but thankfully she will listen to external advice and tries hard to do her best. This is another aspect of the program that helped Ashleigh – your advice was tailored to her needs and free. It is a critical investment in the future capabilities of the people who access it, no matter their circumstances or age.

Funding for programs such as Brighter Futures is crucial, but equally important are the individuals who administer it and have the courage to invest in people's lives when they are at their worst and expertly guide then though to their own brighter future.

Thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts for the positive outcomes you have helped to achieve in our family.

Kate* and Graham*

*Name changed to protect the identity of the people we work with

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