Strengths-Based Practice

From Yam Jam to symposium and back again

Over 150 child protection practitioners, from both the non-government and government sectors, attended PeakCare’s symposium, Strengths-Based Practice: What is it – really? held at Riverside Receptions, New Farm on Tuesday this week.

In closing the symposium, Lindsay Wegener, PeakCare’s Executive Director noted how pleasing it was to see such a large crowd of people from both sectors coming together to hear about, explore and debate good child protection practice.  If cultural change is needed, as argued by the Carmody Child Protection Inquiry, then it is best for this change to be practice-driven and led by good practitioners.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback has been received about the symposium.  Amongst the constructive comments made by those who provided their feedback, a number of people noted they would have preferred more time to be given to ‘questions and answers’ and audience interaction with presenters and panels.  PeakCare has taken this feedback on board.

When events of this type are held, it may be argued that what occurs following the event is usually far more important than what occurs during it.  Once the symposium has finished, the various speakers and presenters have done their job and delivered the information they wished to convey. The onus then switches to those who received the information – how will they reflect on the information that’s been given, consider and talk about it and, if judged as useful, act upon it.

The idea for this week’s symposium emerged from a PeakCare ‘Yam Jam’ (an on-line discussion via Yammer) that was held to facilitate an exchange of resources, views and advice about what strengths-based practice means.  Members of PeakCare’s Reforms Network joined in or ‘listened into’ this discussion at their leisure over a three-day period.   Transcripts of this discussion were widely distributed and, as reported on in a previous edition of eNews, drew many favourable comments.  Now that the symposium has concluded, PeakCare intends going back to the future.  All those who attended the symposium will soon receive an invitation to participate in another Yam Jam.  This Yam Jam will be used to allow people to further reflect on, explore and discuss matters raised at the symposium as well as introduce into the discussion issues that people think should have been talked about on the day, but weren’t.  It will provide another opportunity for those who attended the symposium to ask the questions they missed out on asking on the day or to discuss the thoughts they have had about strengths-based practice since then.

Watch out for the invitation that will soon be arriving in your inbox.

Click here to view the gallery of pictures of the symposium.

In the Spotlight

This week it seems timely to shine a spotlight on the work of the PeakCare Board. Like most Boards of non-government agencies, PeakCare’s Board is comprised of members who volunteer their time to tirelessly support the vision and mission of the organisation in respect of which they exercise considerable governance responsibilities.  It often seems that their task is a thankless one for which they receive little recognition.

During this week’s Annual General Meeting, Shelley Wall who has served as President of the Board for most of the 2013-2014 year, paid tribute to her fellow Board members.    She noted that while the organisational arm of PeakCare has been busily engaged in working on and promoting system and practice reforms, in the background the Board has also been working on its “own process of reform and improvement”. 

Shelley said that, “The aim of the Board has been to ensure that the organisation (PeakCare) is well placed to continue to serve both members and Government well”.  She highlighted major elements of an ambitious program of Board development undertaken during 2013-2014 which included:
  • lodgement of a successful application for PeakCare to become registered as a charity by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and obtain endorsement as a Deductible Gift recipient by the Australian Taxation Office, subject to an amendment being made to the PeakCare Constitution which was passed unanimously at a special general meeting of members held in early 2014
  • the commissioning of a project to develop new Board procedures which will provide a solid foundation for sound governance into the future including increased accountability for both the Board and the Executive, and
  • the development of plans for an updated strategic plan which better responds to the transformational reforms called for by the Carmody Child Protection Commission of Inquiry and the State Government’s response to the Inquiry’s recommendations.
Shelley outlined plans for an independent member survey to ensure that members’ views remain a driving force underpinning all future activities of the organisation.
Shelley thanked all the members of the 2013/2014 Board for their commitment to these reforms and their dedication in supporting PeakCare to remain a strong and independent voice able to work collaboratively with others in working towards achieving a better child protection system which serves our families, children and communities well.
Safe for Our Kids

SNAICC is proud to release “Safe for our Kids: A guide to family violence response and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families” (the Guide).

While there is evidence of the importance of local solutions to prevent and to respond to family violence, there is a gap in information on key principles that effectively reduce the incidence of family violence. The Guide will contribute to increased awareness by service providers, researchers, policy makers and other decision makers on effective community controlled strategies that respond to and prevent family violence.

The Guide has been developed from consultation with community-controlled service providers, and a review of the evidence of what works.  This has involved the development of a literature review and consultation report on effective community controlled strategies that prevent and respond to family violence.

The aim of the Guide is to support best practice across the nation to reduce the incidence and impacts of family violence. The guide includes a set of evidence-based good practice principles presented as a ‘Process Framework’ to assist in achieving positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and communities, but in particular supports the needs of children.

Click here to download a copy of the guide.
Learn, learn, learn!

Mindfulness & Self-Regulation

Brisbane - 8th Decemberber

Presented by Compass Seminars

Do you work with young people who have trouble with anger, anxiety or depression?

Is the constant connection to technology making it hard for young people to concentrate?

Have you heard of mindfulness but aren't confident enough to start using it?

Kids are now continually ”switched on” with a computer, TV, and a smart phone at hand. The amount of information and distractions they encounter makes it hard to regulate their thoughts, feelings and attention. Mindfulness focuses attention in the ‘here and now’ and teaches a new way of relating to internal experiences and regulating automatic reactions, whilst fostering attitudes of curiosity and kindness.

Click here to read more and register

Brisbane - 27th February 2015

Presented by Lighthouse Resources

Human services workers are increasingly familiar with the range of conversation-building 'seriously optimistic' practice tools produced by St Luke's Innovative Resources. These hands-on tools offer rich interpretive metaphors that can act as catalysts for change for individuals, families, groups, communities and organisations. In addition to Innovative Resources, a number of other tools have recently been developed by other individuals or organisations.

This workshop will offer participants a number of immediately useful ideas for the use of these tools within a range of practice contexts. The client-directed philosophy behind the tools will also be explored throughout the day.

Participants can look forward to a highly participative, interactive workshop in which their own creativity, storytelling and sense of humour will be encouraged. A full range of tools will be available for practice during the workshop and available to purchase from the bookstore.

Click here to read more and register

PeakCare welcomes its new Board

Following on from the successful Strengths-Based Practice symposium on Tuesday, 25th November, PeakCare held its AGM for the year ending 30th June 2014.

President Shelley Wall opened the meeting and welcomed all attendees before inviting Uncle Joe Kirk to Welcome us all to Country. Uncle Joe gave a sometimes poignant, often witty account of the history of New Farm and surrounding areas and the importance of the land on which we met.

Shelley Wall and PeakCare’s Executive Director, Lindsay Wegener, then gave brief speeches reflecting on the 2013/2014 year highlighting particular milestones; from the recommendations handed down by the Carmody Inquiry through to the various roundtable meetings and other forums that PeakCare conducted throughout the State to consult with our member agencies, supporters and other stakeholders. Special mention was made of the commencement of PeakCare’s Research Group and PeakCare’s auspicing and re-vitalisation of Foster and Kinship Carer Week 2014.

Treasurer Leith Sterling gave an account of the audited financials from the year highlighting that PeakCare had recorded a small profit and that memberships had continued to grow.

Our Returning Officer this year, Anne Elliott of Encompass Family and Community, then asked the existing Board members to stand down and invited all voting delegates present to cast their votes. Ann Marie Matthews [Youth Care Support Services] and Paul Testro [Paul Testro Consultancy Services] then counted and recounted the votes.

While this was occurring, some informal speeches were delivered by Ms Judith Abernethy, bankmecu, a long time and much valued supporter of PeakCare and Principal Commissioner Steve Armitage, Queensland Family and Child Commission.

The announcement of the outcomes of the ballot was then made by the Returning Officer. PeakCare welcomes to the 2014-2015 Board Shelley Wall [Mercy Community Services], Tracy Adams [BoysTown], Leith Sterling [The Benevolent Society] and Shirley Pevitt [Anglicare North Queensland] who are all returning to serve another term and a special welcome is extended to Karen Dawson-Sinclair [Ganyjuu Family Support Services] who is now commencing her first term as a Board member. They join existing Board members Sally Kelynack [UnitingCare Community] and Brad Swan [Life Without Barriers] who were elected at last year’s AGM.

Following the AGM, those present stayed on for our end-of-year celebrations and enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on a busy year.

Promoting positive brain change from the inside out

Thank you to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for hosting the conference, Why two brains aren’t always better than one.  Promoting positive brain change from the inside out, that was very entertainingly delivered yesterday by Dave Ziegler (Jasper Mountain) and Gregory Nicolau (Australian Childhood Trauma Group).
PeakCare was pleased to promote this event and also very pleased to see it attended by around 80 representatives from non-government organisations as well as Departmental Officers, teachers and early childhood workers.
There was much food for thought generated, especially, but not only, for those involved in providing residential care services.   I left the forum with a mini-library of books and videos as I think many others did also.

Kids in Care Christmas Appeal

They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and this is particularly true for children who cannot live with their own families.

Be part of the village this Christmas, and show you care by donating a gift to the Kids in Care Christmas Appeal.

You can help light up the faces of Queensland kids and support their families and carers. 

From 19th November to 5th December, you can support the appeal by donating a suitable gift or voucher at your closest collection point.

Throughout the appeal, Child Safety Officers will distribute the gifts to children and young people in care across Queensland. Any extra gifts received through the appeal will be distributed to other disadvantaged children and young people.

Click here to read more and find your nearest donation point.

In the read

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children

By Randye J Semple & Jennifer Lee
A complete and practical guide to effectively enhance the lives of children and adolescents who have anxiety.

Adults rarely associate childhood with anxiety, but more than one in ten children has anxious thoughts and fears debilitating enough to warrant an anxiety disorder diagnosis. It is essential that therapists who treat children and adolescents have an arsenal of effective techniques for helping young people manage the overwhelming sensations of anxiety before these symptoms develop into lifelong issues.

Developed by mindfulness researchers, Randye Semple and Jennifer Lee, the program in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children can be used in group or individual therapy to help children and adolescents become more aware of the sensations of anxiety and notice how anxiety affects their behavior.

Click here to purchase this book
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