Meet our Family Support Practitioners: Angela Flood

Tell us about what you do at VSK

Family Support Practitioner – providing emotional support, counselling and advocacy to Very Special Kids families in many different ways

What’s unique about your role?

As an FSP, I am privileged to be able to work with families from the point of diagnosis through to ongoing bereavement support – the longevity of the role means we sometimes have relationships with families that continue for years and years – the length and breadth of the role from counselling to advocacy to practical support and group programs, we get to dabble in everything

What do you love about your role?

I love the diversity of the role and that every day is different and that after nearly 14 years I still learn something new every day. I love the perspective I gain from connecting with families who are coping with some of the most challenging circumstances possible.

What does a usual day look like?

There is no real typical day as each day is different. Most days I will spend some time on the road visiting a family (sometimes more than one family) for emotional support or counselling, spend several hours on the phone to other families, perhaps attend a professionals case meeting, write a support letter or two, and work on allocated programs or community education projects.

What’s something that other health professionals might not know about your role?

We are sometimes a jack of all trades – some families really need and want formal counselling whilst others really want you to connect with them in a more casual way and help them negotiate a very confusing and overwhelming service system. I am a big believer in responding individually to what each family may need rather than a one size fits all approach.

What is it that gets you out of bed every morning to come to work?

The families – and the hope that maybe somehow I can make even the smallest of differences by just being there for families when they are struggling or in need of a listening ear.

What’s been a highlight during your time at VSK?

After 13 years there are probably too many highlights to mention, but barely a day goes by that I don’t learn something new or am inspired by a Very Special Kids family. Watching the connection created between bereaved siblings when they were given the opportunity to participate in a therapeutic group was inspiring. Bearing witness to the hope that families find amongst life’s most challenging experiences never grows old and is always a highlight.

What’s your top tip to those who have had a tough time or day?

In general to those not living the life of a Very Special Kids family, my advice is ‘life can sometimes be tough, but maintain perspective, things could be a lot worse, and tomorrow is a new day’

To the Very Special Kids families I support my top tip is, ‘one minute, one hour, one day at a time and be kind to yourself’

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Geelong, but spent my younger years in small towns such as Rokewood, Beeac and Colac, before completing my schooling in Ballarat. I have two beautiful girls and a very supportive husband. In my spare time I love to read and I really enjoy taking photos. My first job was as a Coles check out operator and as a youngster I did quite well as a long distance runner.