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- Tuesday, 16th June 2020 -

The recommendation made by Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley arising out of the inquest into the death of Mason Jet Lee for “genuine consideration of adoption as a permanency option” appears to have been based on assumption that this will assist in “removing (a significant number of) children from the system”.  A very preliminary examination of Queensland child protection data suggests otherwise.

There are currently around 6,000 Queensland children on long-term child protection orders, of whom around 42% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children. Of these, there are only around 200 children aged under 3 years, the age group that would be targeted for adoption in accordance with Ms Bentley’s recommendation. Assuming that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, for very good reason, would be excluded from this target group, the number would reduce to around 120.  It is likely that around 50% of these 120 children are living with approved kinship carers – an arrangement that would be regarded as far preferable to these children being adopted by ‘strangers’, which further reduces the number to around 60.

Of these, many, if not most, would have siblings. Presumably, adoption would not be pursued if it entailed separating these children from their brothers and/or sisters, thereby reducing the number even further.  Around 30% of children in care have a disability. Overseas research indicates that it is extremely difficult to locate adoptive parents for these children and they often enter into an extended period of a ‘legal limbo’ while this process is attempted. The number of children for whom adoption may be a suitable option dwindles further.

PeakCare has no qualms about adoption being genuinely considered as a suitable permanency option. Our concern is that other options for achieving permanency must also receive the same genuine consideration. There are few who would disagree with the goal of achieving permanence in the arrangements made for each child’s care and allowing them to achieve a sense of belonging and connection with trusted adults upon whom they can always rely. Our concern is that adoption must not be viewed as an end in itself. It is a means to an end. It exists alongside a range of other permanency options, all of which must be afforded proper consideration in selecting the best option for each child.

Make sure that you read the many well-considered and insightful comments entered in response to our blog, Findings of the inquest into the death of Mason Jet Lee – on the question of adoption, then add your own. In doing so you will be contributing to one of the most significant policy debates to have occurred in Queensland since the time of the Carmody Child Protection Inquiry. Or visit PeakCare’s Facebook Page, and add your comments to those that have posted there.

For more information about the question of adoption, scroll down and read the reports listed in the In the Read section of this week’s edition of eNews.

Stage 2 of eased restrictions commences

From 1st June, Queensland commenced Stage 2 of the Queensland Government's Roadmap to Easing Queensland's Restrictions. For more information about the roadmap and how community services organisations can continue to do their work, view the Stage 2 frequently asked questions and the Stage 2 frequently asked questions for business and activities


Hardship payments available for those ill with COVID-19

Support is now available for Queensland workers who test positive for COVID-19 and have no access to paid sick leave, including casual workers and those who have exhausted their sick leave or pandemic leave entitlements, and test positive to COVID-19. To be eligible for this payment you must have been employed, test positive to COVID-19 and have no access to paid sick leave or pandemic leave. Find out more.


New youth engagement website

Education Queensland has developed two new online resources. These may support staff within your organisation who deal with disengaged young people and their parents. The We the Differents youth site aims to empower young people to overcome barriers they might be facing, motivate them and to increase their understanding of options and pathways available to reengage in education. Some of the content themes include; find your different, do education your way, make it possible with education/training and you don’t have to do this alone. The Spark their Future parent site aims to provide parents with online support and advice for their child who is disengaging. The content is delivered in a non-confronting way and is designed to reach, support and motivate parents of disengaged young people to help them remain engaged in education pathways. 


YoungCare At Home Care Grants closing soon

Youngcare’s At Home Care Grants provide funding for equipment, home modifications and essential support or respite to both enhance quality of life for young people with high physical care needs and assist them to remain living in their own home with loved ones. The grants provide one-off funding of up to $10,000 to help those aged 16-65 with high physical care needs who are living at home, and are at risk of entering inappropriate housing. Applications close for this round on Wednesday, 24th June. Find out more and apply.


Transport accessibility survey

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is conducting a survey to see how accessible and inclusive its services, products, information and infrastructure are. Community service organisations should consider providing their insights and experience to contribute to delivering transport solutions that consider diverse needs.
 

Celebrating the shared strength of parents 

Family Inclusion Network South East Queensland have made available to view the discussions that took place during the UN Global Day of Parents panel facilitated to celebrate the value of parents. The panel, "Shared Strength – there has never been more cause to celebrate parents than in 2020”, included members from the Queensland Parent Advisory Committee, the Department of Child Safety, and parents with a lived experience of child protection systems. The discussion focussed on how the shared strength, insight, creativity, and humour of parents is changing practice in Queensland. View the discussion.

Each week, PeakCare publishes a 'Thumbs Up' and/or a 'Thumbs Down' about matters that have come to our attention and draw either our commendation or condemnation. If there are matters that you think are worthy of one or other of these acknowledgements, email lwegener@peakcare.org.au and we will consider publishing them.


AN ENORMOUS THUMBS UP to all who have added comments in response to PeakCare’s blog, Findings of the inquest into the death of Mason Jet Lee – on the question of adoption and/or PeakCare’s Facebook Page. You have contributed to one of the most significant child protection policy debates to have taken place in Queensland since the time of the Carmody Child Protection Inquiry. We sincerely hope that others join you.

In this week’s edition, read these reports both featuring content that can assist in informing your opinions about adoption. They include:

  • Permanency planning and the question of adoption, a discussion paper produced by PeakCare in 2013 during the course of the Carmody Child Protection Inquiry. While some of the information included in the paper is now a little out-of-date, the key themes and issues reported on remain contemporary and relevant to the current policy debates.
  • Adoption has a role in child protection but it is no panacea, an article recently published on-line by The Conversation. This article compares adoption practices carried out throughout Australia and reaches a conclusion that “while adoption is a good option for some children, it is not always the best solution”. 

Mastering Vicarious Stress
Webinar - Tuesday, 23rd and Wednesday, 24th June
Presented by Amovita International

Amovita's mastering vicarious stress program assists you, your colleagues, manager, leader and teams to understand the impact of fear based energy to your brain and body. It assists to reduce the impacts of stress on the brain and understand how to remain focused and have a clear plan to move through 2020. It assists you and your family to come through this difficult time knowing you have reduced the impacts of vicarious stress on your health and wellbeing. This program is interactive, dynamic and provides you with the latest information about how to manage yourself and others during this very difficult time. Find out more and register.


Child Safe Organisations Workshop
Webinar - Thursday, 25th June

Presented by NAPCAN

NAPCAN is delivering free half-day Child Safe Organisations workshops, suitable for any organisation working directly or indirectly with children. The workshops are currently being delivered online via Zoom for early childhood centres, schools, sports and recreational groups, faith-based organisations, youth groups, out-of-home-care workers, and health organisations. Online sessions are currently scheduled until August, including evening and weekend sessions. Face-to-face workshops are scheduled for fourth quarter in Caboolture, Townsville, Mount Isa and Emerald (restrictions permitting). Find out more and register.
 

2020 Webinar Series: Coalition Wellbeing – Reviewing how well your collaboration works
Online - Wednesday, 1st July
Presented by CREATE

The natural fluctuations that occur in communities and community coalitions underline the importance of establishing a routine process for all partners to engage in regular reflection about coalition wellbeing and functioning. Collecting information that promotes reflection forms a core part of a continuous learning and improvement cycle and can help coalition members strengthen the way they work together to enhance outcomes for their community. This presentation will be led by CREATE Project Co-director Professor Ross Homel and Principal Research Fellow Dr Kate Freiberg. Find out more and register.
 

Introduction to the Nurtured Heart Approach
Brisbane - Monday, 20th July
Presented by Lighthouse Resources

The Nurtured Heart Approach is a simple framework which nurtures and grows a child’s positive sense of self. All children who have been introduced to this approach flourish and learn to appreciate what is great about them. This workshop will encourage participants to change the way we look at challenging behaviours and increase awareness and understanding of relationships. Through an introduction to the Nurtured Heart Approach, the workshop will provide powerful tools to improve not only how children and young people views themselves, but also the world around them, so they can embrace themselves and embrace life. Find out more and register.
 

Platform 1225 2020: Truth, advocacy and systemic reform
Brisbane - Tuesday, 17th November
Presented by Queensland Youth Housing Coalition 

Comedian and author Corey White has been announced to headline and MC QYHC's annual forum Platform 1225. Corey joins advocates, academics, young people and practitioners who are committed to social justice, including Dr Lindy Annakin, lead writer of the out-of-home care chapter of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and researcher on whistleblowing in the public interest; Dr Alistair Ping, Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology’s Graduate School of Business; and Dr Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre for Social Impact and a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney Business School. A panel of young people will speak to their lived experience on issues affecting their communities, including Lane Brooks, a 23 year-old Mandandanji man who is passionate about enacting change. Presentations will consider what can be done today to make sure the previous patterns of history are not repeated, and how to ensure ethical practice remains a key focus for organisations and government. Find out more and register.


Key Skills in Family Therapy
Brisbane - Thursday, 26th to Friday, 27th November

Presented by Compass Seminars

This two-day workshop is aimed at practitioners who work with children, young people, adults, couples, families, and/or organisations supporting clients with mental health issues. This workshop aims to introduce participants to core Family Therapy concepts and broaden practitioners understanding of how to view “the client’s problem”, as well as provide practical skills and interventions for use with the client groups with which they work, built on theoretical constructs from systemic, structural, solution focused and narrative family therapy models to teach core thinking and interviewing skills in family therapy. Find out more and register.

Parenting capacity and mental health
Webinar - Wednesday, 17th June

The Family Law Pathways Networks Across Australia invite you to join a free webinar by leading expert Rose Cuffdiscussing parenting capacity and mental health.  This presentation will explore concepts of parenting and capacity in the context of deepening our understanding about the challenges and strengths experienced by parents, their children and families who live with mental ill health. Principles of engagement, validation and understanding what parents bring to the spaces in which we meet them, managing complexity and fostering resilient parent-child-family relationships will be discussed. Find out more and register.


Working with women who have experienced complex trauma in mental health and refugee services - a comparative discussion
Webinar - Thursday, 18th June

This free webinar will draw on findings from ANROWS research ‘Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence’, and the panel of researchers, practitioners and survivors with lived experience will discuss: survivor’s understandings of complex trauma and the way this differs across different professionals; how these different understandings impact practice and women’s experiences of services; trauma-informed care in mental health and refugee services, and how they differ; why a shared understanding of complex trauma is important for services working with women who have experienced domestic and family violence; what changes can be made to improve trauma-informed care across the health and social service sectors. Find out more and register.
 

Pandemic: Exposing the risk
Webinar - Friday, 19th June

This free webinar delivered by National Disability Services will explore the question of whether enough is being done in the context of the pandemic shining a spotlight on disability vulnerabilities. Professor Nicholas Lennox will present the webinar and speak to the multiple compounding factors that act to heighten levels of risk to people with intellectual and developmental disability and what every provider needs to know and practice to strengthen their pandemic preparedness. Topics will include: the health status of people with intellectual and developmental disability – mortality, morbidity and barriers to care; the emerging research on COVID-19 and IDD – doubling deaths in disability; recovery and rehabilitation from the disease – what we are learning from case examples and research; latent pandemic risks – a second wave, outbreaks, and/or a slow spread; what you can do as a provider to make a difference – fact sheets, health assessments, training, planning, maintaining the core elements to keep people safe. Find out more and register.

 

How young people are experiencing the social and economic impacts of COVID-19
Webinar - Tuesday, 23rd June

In this free webinar as part of the AIFS Families in Focus 2020 webinar series, YACVic CEO Katherine Ellis and a panel of young people will discuss impacts of COVID-19 on young people in Australia. Katherine will speak on the disproportionate impacts that COVID-19 is having on young people, looking at both the immediate and long term, with references to survey data from YACVic and other national data. The panel will present case studies to help understand the impacts on young people, and will be available to answer questions from a perspective of lived experience. Find out more and register.
 

NDS Fast Facts Weekly Briefing
Webinar - Tuesday, 23rd June

National Disability Services invites disability service providers to participate in the weekly online briefing, NDS Fast Facts. This forum will enable disability service providers across Queensland to hear from NDS and others about important changes and/or information that may affect their organisation, customers and wider community. These sessions will also create further opportunity for NDS to hear from providers. Find out more and register.
 

The impact of COVID-19 on front line workers facing conflict in others
Webinar - Monday, 29th June

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is hosting a free webinar to learn how to managing complex emotions in yourself and others and achieve better interpersonal outcomes during stressful times such the COVID-19 experience, and understand the techniques and self-regulation skills needed to cope with anger, flooded emotions in ourselves and others and how to better manage conflict at home or work. Peter Seligman, Executive Manager, Relationship Matters, will facilitate the session. Find out more and register.
 

Youth Futures Summit into Employment and Transitions 2020
Online - Monday, 24th to Friday, 28th August

The National Youth Commission has rescheduled the Youth Futures Summit 2020 to August. Every young person deserves access to education, employment and a future in which they can thrive. But they are growing up in a world that is ill-equipped for the future of work, for the changing economy, for the climate crisis. The Summit will call sector representatives to collectively highlight the way forward, working together across education, VET, and industry, and with young people to form a new plan for their transitions into life and the future of work. Find out more and register.
 

AIFS 2021 Conference
Melbourne - Tuesday, 15th to Friday, 18th June 2021

Following the postponement of the 2020 AIFS Conference, a new date has been set in 2021 for an unparalleled conference experience. Save the date for attending at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Conference will reflect on the social and economic impacts on families. What have we learnt about the challenges and the opportunities to support families with better policy and service systems in a rapidly changing world? Keep on eye on Conference updates for registrations and confirmed speakers.

Project Officer - PeakCare Queensland

PeakCare is seeking a near full time (0.8 FTE) fixed term until 30th June 2022 Project Officer to work with the Assistant Director in developing the practice framework for foster carers in Queensland. You will bring together foster carers, the non-government providers of foster care services and government to work toward a trauma-informed therapeutic framework to support families who welcome children and young people into their homes. Enquiries can also be directed to Lesley at lleece@peakcare.org.au, using the subject line: Project Officer enquiry, or by phoning 0405 885 667. Applications close 5pm Monday, 22nd June. Find out more and apply.

© 2020 PeakCare Queensland Inc. All rights reserved.

PeakCare Queensland
PO Box 159
Paddington Qld 4064

Click here to apply to become a PeakCare member or supporter. Membership with PeakCare will ensure your organisation is involved in the development of the child protection sector. 

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