Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Bill 2020
On 16th July 2020, Ms Cynthia Lui, Member for Cook, introduced the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Bill 2020. Key features of the legislation include the introduction of ‘cultural recognition orders’ that have the effect of permanently transferring parentage from a child’s birth parents to their cultural parents, and provision to appoint an independent Commissioner, who is appropriately qualified and a Torres Strait Islander person, to decide upon applications made for the cultural recognition orders. Parliament’s Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee to whom the Bill was referred, tabled its report on 28th August 2020. The legislation was passed on 8th September. Read the article History Made: Torres Strait Adoption Bill Passes authored by Dr Heron Loban, to gain an appreciation of the significance of this legislation.
Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019
On 27th November 2019, the Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, introduced the Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019. Key objectives of the Bill were to improve the responsiveness of the criminal justice system to child sexual offending and the victims of these offences by amending legislation to implement recommendations contained within the Criminal Justice Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, implement recommendations of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s report on the Classification of child exploitation material for sentencing purposes, and create new offences that criminalise the possession, production and supply of anatomically correct, life-like child ‘dolls’ used for sexual gratification. Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee to whom the Bill was referred, tabled its report on 7th February 2020. This report references submissions made to the Committee, including PeakCare’s submission and those of PeakCare Member organisations including Life Without Barriers, Bravehearts and Youth Advocacy Centre.
When announcing that the legislation had been passed on 8th September 2020, Ms D’Ath said that the laws herald a new era of delivering justice to victims, while sending a clear message that child sexual abuse is never okay.
“They create a new offence of failing to report and failing to protect a child from institutional child sexual abuse. The new laws also clarify that priests will not be able to rely on the seal of confession to avoid the reporting of abuse. These tough new laws tackle the unforgiveable crime of child sexual abuse, while seeking to achieve justice for victims and hold perpetrators to account.”
Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
On 14th July 2020, Hon Di Farmer MP, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, introduced the Child Protection and Other Legislation and Amendment Bill 2020. The objectives of the Bill are to enhance approaches to achieving ‘permanency’ for children in care under the Child Protection Act 1999, and clarify that adoption is an option for achieving permanency, as part of the suite of alternative long-term care options available. Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee to whom the Bill was referred, tabled its report on 28th August 2020. Click here to view the submissions made to the Committee. This includes PeakCare’s submission and those lodged by PeakCare Member organisations including Act for Kids, The Benevolent Society and Micah Projects.
Queensland's economic response to COVID-19: what it means for the community and family services sector
On Monday, 14th September at 7.30am QCOSS will host a budget breakfast online event where Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon. Cameron Dick MP will join QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh and a panel of sector leaders to discuss the COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review and what it means for the community sector. ABC presenter Matt Wordsworth will MC the event and pose your questions to the panel, which will be comprised of: Aimee McVeigh, Peter Selwood, Executive Director of Centacare in the Archdiocese of Brisbane; Nance Haxton, The Wandering Journo; Kevin Mercer, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland; and Professor Sue Harris Rimmer, Director of the Griffith University Policy Innovation Hub. The event is free for QCOSS Members and $65 for non-QCOSS Members. Find out more and register.
Updated COVID restrictions for Queensland
Restrictions are currently in place for disability accommodation service providers and other accommodation facilities in areas across South-East Queensland. From Monday, 31st August additional Darling Downs Local Government Areas have been added to the List of restricted areas for the purposes of Queensland COVID-19 Restricted Areas Direction (No.5). These are: Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire, Goondiwindi Region, South Burnett Region, Southern Downs Region, Toowoomba Region, and Western Downs Region. Further information about these Directions, including questions and answers, can be found on the Queensland Health website. All restricted LGAs are now classified at moderate risk, mandating use of Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of flat surgical masks in most clinical settings for staff, patients, residents and visitors. This will affect NDIS providers and clients. Further guidelines on PPE use can be found here.
Release of survey reports on the LNP's proposals to overhaul the child protection system
Following on from the release of the report overviewing the findings of the survey conducted by PeakCare and QATSICPP, two further reports have been released. The first report, On the question of re-naming the Child Safety Department, the Child Protection Force, was released on 3rd September and the second, On the proposed trial to extend payments to Foster Carers until young people in their care turn 21 was released on 7th September. Do the findings recorded in the reports surprise you or not? Which of the views reported on do you agree or disagree with? Click here to enter your comments about the findings of the first report and click here to comment on the second report. More reports will be released next week.
No Card, No Start laws commence
No Card, No Start laws have now commenced for the Blue Card system in Queensland. People with paid applications submitted before 31st August are able to continue working while their applications are processed, but any person applying from 1st September will need to hold a valid blue card before starting work with children. Under the new laws, organisations must also ensure that all employees and volunteers are linked to their organisation before they begin working with children. Organisations will be able to link applicants using the Organisation Portal. Two new categories have been introduced: 'restricted person' which denotes someone who has been issued a negative notice, has a suspended blue card, is a disqualified person, or has been charged with a disqualifying offence; and 'restricted employment' which refers to exemptions allowing a person minimal contact with children without requiring a blue card, for example for volunteers under 18, parents as volunteers, and others. Find out more. New fees also apply, and new paper forms are now required - paper forms with an expiry date of 31st March 2020 will no longer be accepted. Find out more at the Blue Card website.
QLeave to commence 1st January 2021
The Community Services (Portable Long Service Leave) Regulation 2020 has now been approved and the scheme will commence on 1st January 2021. The scheme will enable community service workers to obtain long service leave. For more information on how the new scheme will affect workers and employers in community services, visit the QLeave community services information page.
New National Children's Commissioner appointed
The federal government has announced that Anne Hollonds, Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, will commence as National Children's Commissioner from 2nd November, replacing the inaugural Children's Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, who served in the role for seven years. As Children's Commissioner, Ms Hollonds will promote discussion and awareness of issues affecting children; conduct research and education programs; consult directly with children and representative organisations; and examine Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children's human rights. Read more.
Preparing for T2A Month
Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Month is held in November each year. T2A Month highlights the needs of young people as they make the journey from the child protection system to adulthood, experiencing positive life outcomes along the way. Each year, more than 500 young people leave the Queensland child protection system in their transition to adulthood. Workers, support services and carers are encouraged to have a conversation, host an event and get resourced! Visit the T2A website for extensive resources to support the transition for young people, including tips for mindfulness and emotional wellbeing, scholarships and educational support, managing finances, and details on the Sortli app which helps young people keep together all the things they need to cross off before leaving care. The T2A Month launch this year will be held in Toowoomba on Thursday, 12th November from 3:30pm. RSVP here. A T2A Young Consultant Panel will also be held, with a focus upon supporting young parents (who have a care experience) on their T2A journey. This online panel will be held Wednesday, 18th November at 10am online. Register here. Please contact email@example.com or call 07 3317 6020 for more information about T2A Month.
Lighthouse Project trial for at-risk families in the family law system
The Family Law Amendment (Risk Screening Protections) Bill 2020 has been introduced to federal parliament to support the pilot program, Lighthouse Project, which will screen new parenting matters for family safety risks upon filing of a parenting application in three family law registries including Brisbane. The program will also provide litigants with safety planning and service referral, and a specialist family violence list will operate to identify and fast-track high-risk cases. Find out more about the project. A webinar presentation about the initiative will be held on Wednesday, 16th September 1pm-2pm. Register here.
New service to help separating couples reach amicable agreements
amica is a new online service to help separating couples reach amicable agreements on property and parenting matters without engaging lawyers. The service guides users through a step-by-step process, and offers guidance and support to help reach agreement, as well as information about other support services. Until the end of 2020 amica’s dispute resolution feature is also free. From January 2021 there will be a nominal fee for this feature (between $165 and $440 per couple) but it will be waived for users who receive a Centrelink income support payment. The service is an initiative of National Legal Aid and the Legal Services Commission of South Australia with support from the federal Government.
Celebrating Multicultural Queensland applications now open
The Celebrating Multicultural Queensland program is an annual program that provides funding towards multicultural events and projects that engage people from culturally diverse backgrounds and the wider community to contribute to building an inclusive, harmonious and united Queensland. Applications are now open for events to be held in 2021. Events that had been funded to be held in 2020 but were postponed due to COVID-19 need not reapply. Applications close midnight Friday, 25th September. Find out more and apply.
Volunteer grants applications now open
Volunteering Queensland is accepting applications for the 2020 Supplementary Volunteer Grants to volunteer involving organisations across Queensland to support the efforts of their volunteers and encourage and increase participation in volunteering. Funding can assist organisations transition their volunteer programs back into operation following the disruption caused by COVID-19, with grants to help re-engage volunteers and adapt practices to support volunteers’ safety. Applications close midnight Sunday, 20th September. Find out more and apply.
Youth Action Project Grants Scheme now open
The Youth Action Projects Grants Scheme (YAPGS) is now accepting applications for grants to grassroots or community-led projects that aim to improve the outcomes and wellbeing of young people, with a particular focus on employment, mental health, transportation, and the impacts of COVID-19 and the recent bushfires. Projects need to be either new initiatives that recognise and respond to the hardships young people face now and will face in the future, or existing initiatives, which already provide a valuable on-going service to young people, but which need further funding to continue. Funds can be used to pay for any type of project including but not limited to staffing, equipment purchase, consumables or marketing. Applications close midnight, Wednesday 7th October. Find out more and apply.
Date extended to make a submission to parliament
The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee has extended the deadline for submissions in response to the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020. The Bill aims to implement the recommendations of the Queensland Law Reform Commission in its Review of consent laws and the excuse of mistake of fact report, and address other objectives. Submissions have been extended to Tuesday, 29th September. Find out more.
Seeking interview participants: research on outcomes measurement in the Child and Family Sector
Are you an executive or senior manager working in a community organisation in Child and Family Services? If you are, you are invited to participate in a (COVID-safe) interview for a study on outcomes measurement in Australian child and family nonprofits. A variety of experiences and views are being sought, so it doesn’t matter if your organisation isn’t measuring outcomes at the moment. The researchers are seeking a wide range of views, including from organisations with minimal experience with outcomes measurement. The research will form part of a PhD study.For further information, contact Karen Wilcox or see the research leaflet. Karen's background includes leadership roles in the family violence and child welfare sectors and she is passionate about ways in which nonprofits can be supported to thrive in these uncertain and complex social and economic times.
Research on education needs during COVID-19
The Learning during COVID-19 Study being conducted by the University of Queensland, the University of Tasmania, and the Peter Underwood Centre, aims to understand how children and young people who were already struggling with learning and school, experienced learning during COVID-19. The key purpose is to be able to provide important information to help schools and service providers support children and families during times like this. The study seeks to understand who is in need, what their strengths are, and what responses can best serve these needs and build on the strengths of at-risk children and young people. The study is seeking feedback from public sector employees, service providers who work in and outside of schools, and other experts in academia, government and the not for profit sector. For any questions, please contact Lisa McDaid on firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more and take part.
PeakCare bids ‘farewell’ and says ‘hello’
PeakCare recently extended a fond farewell to Lesley Leece who, for around two years, was our Assistant Director. Lesley made an enormous contribution to the work of PeakCare during that time, not the least of which included receiving a national award for the Hope and Healing e-learning program for residential care workers and their supervisors. PeakCare wishes Lesley well as she embarks in the next exciting stage of her career as the Chief Executive Office of 3rd Space.
PeakCare also sincerely thanks Will Kerkhof for his time spent with us a project officer and wishes him well in his new role which will, no doubt, entail further engagement with PeakCare.
A big welcome is also extended to Emily Brand who is now already busily working on an exciting project in adapting and applying the Hope and Healing Framework to foster care and developing the e-learning modules to support its implementation.