FRMP State-wide Conference

2017 Victorian Homelessness Conference: Talking Solutions

In 2017, Melbourne City Mission’s FRMP State-wide Conference will join forces with the Council to Homeless Persons Victorian Conference “Talking Solutions” (13 & 14 September, Melbourne Town Hall). 

Melbourne City Mission is excited to confirm that special guest speaker Dr Anita Morris will present the keynote address on Trauma and adolescent family violence: Delivering better homelessness responses as part of the FRMP Specialist Youth Homelessness Stream.

Dr. Anita Morris, Principal Family Violence Practitioner, will explore the complexities of young people who use violence in the home. They are often both victims and perpetrators of violence and commonly have experienced significant trauma. How can we both protect family members and best support young people with complex behaviour?  

Music therapy in youth homelessness: Innovative approaches for engaging young people.

Music is often a pre-existing health resource for many young people. Research highlights how young people use music as a tool for socialisation, expression, maintaining their mental health, and exploring their identities. When engaging directly with young people, it is common to hear phrases such as “music is my life”, or “music gets me through everything”, highlighting the pertinent relationship that young people have with their music.

It is in this context that the music therapy program at Frontyard Youth Services offers a unique opportunity to support and strengthen young people’s pre-existing coping mechanisms; delivering a truly strengths-based intervention. High attendance and retention rates indicate that this program is an effective, needs-based and cost-effective way to support young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Asami Koike is a registered music therapist who introduced and implemented the music therapy program at Frontyard Youth Services in December 2015. This presentation will provide an overview of the music therapy program and will include an immersive music activity for participants.

Presentation Title: “Happiness is hugging a therapy dog”: Exploring the use of Animal Assisted Interventions with Homeless Youth    

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) have shown to have positive effects on individuals and their capacity to cope with, and develop strategies to address, a range of psychological and social outcomes. Specifically for vulnerable groups, including homeless youth, AAIs have shown benefits to social skills, intrapersonal awareness, interpersonal skills and aggressive behaviours.

The session will showcase learnings from Melbourne City Mission’s Frontyard Youth Services’ implementation of a 12-week Animal Assisted Intervention, facilitated by Lead The Way. Recent advances in AAI research with vulnerable population groups, including young people experiencing homelessness and challenges in practice environments and opportunities for the future implementation of AAIs with homeless youth will be explored. The workshop will also contain practical demonstrations of the human-animal bond.

Poppy Fotiadis is a Community Development Worker in the Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP) at Frontyard Youth Services, Melbourne City Mission.

Ms Melanie Jones is a Psychologist, Animal-Assisted Therapist and the Director of Lead the Way. She is also a Senior Canine Behavioural Trainer.

Dr Jess Heerde is examining predictors, health and social problems of youth homelessness as a Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne.

Other confirmed sessions include:

  • Leaving Care – Panel discussion
  • Exploring the contemporary causes of family breakdown that contribute to youth homelessness – Workshop with Dr Justin Barker, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University and Paul Turton, Melbourne City Mission
  • Resolving homelessness for young care leavers – Second day Keynote presentation with Professor Eoin O’Sullivan
  • Effective support post-housing – Panel discussion. People with a lived experience of successfully transitioning out of homelessness share their knowledge about what works, and what doesn’t, and pose some challenges for the homelessness sector.
  • Trauma informed support – Presentation/workshop with Dr Gregory Nicolau, clinical psychologist
  • The learning and employment connection – How do we support children and young people experiencing homelessness to remain connected to education and/or employment?

Event details

2017 Victorian Homelessness Conference
13 and 14 September 2017
Melbourne Town Hall, 90–130 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Cost and how to register
100 free full conference registrations* are available for members of the FRMP community. Please express your interest in attending the conference by email, including the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Organisation/Program
* Accommodation is not included.

Further information about FRMP can be found by visiting

2016 FRMP 9th State-wide Conference 

The 9th Melbourne City Mission FRMP Statewide Conference was held at the Yarra Valley Lodge, Chirnside Park on 1 – 2 June 2016. 

The theme of the conference was Thrive: new ideas for ending youth homelessness, which will consider three sub themes: thriving families, thriving community and thriving sector. Presentations and workshops will examine evidence-based best practice approaches that support families and communities to ‘thrive’ and not just survive.


Some images from the 2015 8th Statewide FRMP Conference 


FRMP 2015 Conference highlights

'Building Connection: exploring the Value of Connection for Young People' was the 8th Statewide FRMP conference to date and took place over two days, in March 2015. We welcomed 112 people who were pleased to hear from our key note speakers including: Dr Phil CraneRudy Gonzalez, and Dr Karen Sutherland. Attendees had the option of attending two of the five workshops provided, and here are some of their overall feedback/comments:

  • 'Great key note speakers – frank and thought provoking'
  • 'Inspiring and makes you reflect on practice'
  • 'New concepts, some fresh ideas and good contacts'
  • 'It's reinforced that I'm putting theory into my work practices'
  • 'Gained new insights into how trauma can affect development'
  • 'It's improved my networks and strategies to facilitate young people to rebuild connections'
  • 'It was good to review old skills'
  • 'Feel professionally refreshed when sharing my experiences with others'
  • 'Learnt more about connection that will inform my practice'
  • 'Lots of practical ideas for my tool box'
  • 'A better insight about working with families'
  • 'Making sure I don't look at the notion of family through my eyes'
  • 'You cannot work with a young person in isolation'.

Thank you to all those who made this event possible and one worth repeating.

The team are in the process of reviewing and evaluating the conference in order to plan the next one!