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How the Newpin program helps put families back together

Investments that make a real impact

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.

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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. But he didn’t have a relationship with his father until he was 21.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life – to watch my kids get taken.” – Ryan

“Growing up without a father was hard. It had a big effect on me,” Ryan says. “When I was 14, I started going drinking and stealing cars and selling drugs.”

At around 21, Ryan started doing heroin.

“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 provides support for families whose children have been removed from their care.

An “impact investment” … aims to achieve a positive social or environmental impact

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 teach them to be effective parents.

The Newpin Social Benefit Bond is an impact investment made by Christian Super, a superannuation fund that invests ethically in line with Christian values.

An “impact investment” 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 which work with families to inspire good parenting, encourage the value of positive parent-child relationships, and raise the self-esteem of individual parents,” he says.

“If it wasn’t for Newpin, I don’t think I would have got my kids back.” – Ryan

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.”

The impact that the Uniting Newpin program is having in the lives of people like Ryan and his family would not be possible without the tens of thousands of Australians who are investing in this business through Christian Super.

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

*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.

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