The Young Aboriginal Mothers Program (YAMP), based in Gunawirra House, Rozelle is an early intervention service for Aboriginal women from pregnancy through to their child starting school. It was formed in response to the need for mothers and their babies to be supported in building stronger, safer and healthier relationships.

Many Aboriginal women come from families that have struggled with generations of poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence and family dislocation. They have few resources to call on in helping them with the challenging and difficult work of raising children.

The Project engages with, supports and holds the mothers through the first five years of their child’s life. We provide a therapeutic space where Aboriginal women and teenagers have the opportunity to talk about and understand what has happened in their lives, to be understood and to begin to develop pride and confidence in themselves as women and as mothers. By focusing on and actively supporting the vital healthy links between mother and child, we aim to reduce the impact of intergenerational trauma in Aboriginal families.


Mothers’ Groups

We have three Mothers Groups that each meet weekly. The first group is for women aged 25 and older with their babies and preschoolers. The second group is for very young mothers aged 14 to 24 with small babies. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the problems of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, family violence, homelessness the pressures of parenting. They are often without the back-up of extended family and are in need of intensive support and “parenting” as they embark on parenthood themselves. We now have a third group.

Tell me more about the Mother’s Group


Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

This model of therapy provides an opportunity for long-term and in-depth work and is particularly valuable where personality and relationships are severely damaged by trauma. Pregnancy and motherhood can revive early traumatic experiences, leaving mothers very vulnerable to problems of anxiety and depression. This service is open to all women and teenagers attending the Mothers’ Group programs and is provided by skilled and experienced professional therapists.

Tell me more about Psycho Therapy


Outcomes of the Program

 For the women and teenagers to:

  • Improve emotional health, personal development and confidence as mothers
  • Positively bond with their infants and preschool children
  • Gain increased awareness of and pride in their culture
  • Gain mutual support
  • Be more able to provide safe environments for their children
  • Be better equipped to provide good nutrition for themselves and their children
  • Gain leadership skills

For the children to:

  • Enjoy more secure, trusting and loving relationships with their mothers
  • Attain their developmental milestones
  • Remain in the care of their mothers
  • Enjoy good self-esteem and emotional health


Major Improvement 

We believe our model is a major improvement on existing strategies with Aboriginal families, because of the following reasons:

  • Mothers’ voluntary commitment to the program and a willingness to learn improved parenting;
  • A very small drop-out rate,
  • Evident improvement in the infants;
  • Self-chosen involvement in intense therapeutic work by mothers;
  • More life satisfaction for the mothers in their mothering role;
  • Satisfaction in the social atmosphere of being with and working with other mothers;
  • Exposure to good nutrition, with home-cooked meals and fresh salads and fruit to take home each week;
  • Emergence of an interest in leadership skills in mothers.


Research and Evaluation

The Inner Suburbs Project has now received the support of Professor Jane Ussher and Assoc. Professor Janette Perz, Women’s Health Psychology, Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney. They carried out qualitative research into the impact and usefulness of the Project through interviews with clients, staff and volunteers. The research report is available on our Research page.


For further information about the programs or to make a referral, please contact us .