How Your Super Is Helping Put Families Back Together

The Newpin Social Benefit Bond helps put families back together

The most difficult moment of Ryan’s* life, was when the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) came to take his children away.

Ryan has been through a lot. His sister died when he was very young and his parents separated. He lived with an Aunt until he was 10, before returning to his mother. He didn’t have a relationship with his father until he was 21.“Growing up without a father was hard. It had a big effect on me,” Ryan says. “When I was 14, I started going out drinking and stealing cars and selling drugs.”

At around 21, Ryan became a heroin user. “Once you get into that scene, it’s not long before you’re going to jail,” he says. “I’ve done over 20 years. I missed out on most of my adult life.”

When Ryan’s son was born, he says it changed his life. “It gave me something that I never had – and that was a family,” he says. “I was working, supporting my family, and my partner had previous contacts with community services. She was involved in drugs and stuff like that. FACS came in and took the kids. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. To watch my kids get taken.”

Ryan’s life changed for the better when he started working with the Uniting Newpin program, which works with families to break the cycle of intergenerational child neglect and abuse. Over 18,000 children are currently in out-of-home care in NSW. The separation of children from their parents has a dramatic impact on the children concerned, leading to many devastating outcomes in their future. Children in out-of-home care have a higher prevalence of mental health issues, high rates of risk-taking behaviour and self-harm, high rates of juvenile crime and unemployment as adults.

Newpin receives enabling capital from the Newpin Social Benefit Bond which was created in partnership by Uniting, the New South Wales Government, and Social Ventures Australia. The innovative funding mechanism gives families access to intensive therapeutic support in order to help parents address the issues which led to the removal of their children, and teaches them to be effective parents.

The Newpin Social Benefit Bond is one of our impact investments, which differs from other types of investments (such as shares and property) in its aim to achieve a positive social or environmental impact, as well as a financial return.

The bond raised $7 million in private investment which Uniting Director of Resilient Families Bob Mulcahy says is being used to deliver and expand the program.

“Uniting Newpin centres operate across Sydney and regional NSW,working with families to inspire good parenting, encourage the value of positive parent-child relationships, and raise the self-esteem of individual parents,” he says.

Ryan says after FACS referred him and his partner to Newpin, his life started to rapidly turn around.

“It gave me reassurance because, you know, when you’re in that situation, you feel helpless,” he says.

“You’ve got no one to turn to, you just don’t know what to do. Coming here to Newpin was the best thing for me because it got independent people to see me with my kids.”

“My kids have now been back with me for over 12 months, it has been a huge journey you know, but things are very different now. If it wasn’t for Newpin, I don’t think I would have got my kids back.”

So far 272 children, like Ryan’s, have been reunited with their families through the Uniting Newpin program. The impact this program is having in these lives would not be possible without the tens of thousands of Australians who are investing in this business by being Christian Super members.

Christian Super is a world leader in impact investing – around 10% of the funds we manage are in investments like the Newpin Social Benefit Bond, that are having a positive impact in Australia and around the world.

*Ryan’s real name has been withheld to protect his, and his family’s, privacy.  Part of this article was originally posted on the Social Ventures Australia blog and has been republished with permission.