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- Friday, 18th May 2018 -

As the Family Matters’ National Week of Action draws to a close, it is important to reflect on the alarming over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in out-of-home care. It is equally important however to remember that the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children – close to 97% - are being raised safely, lovingly and well within their families and culture.

In the midst of being pummelled with statistics reporting on over-representation, it is especially important to reject suggestions that child abuse and neglect is an innate feature of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultures. It simply isn’t. The struggles experienced by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the artefacts of colonisation. They are borne out of the legacy of past government policies, and the present-day impact of social disadvantage, poverty and endemic racism. To confuse these matters and question in any way the cultural authority and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities about how best to raise their children comes not from facts or evidence – it comes from a place of white arrogance and ignorance.

PeakCare as a peak body for predominantly non-Indigenous organisations is not at all well placed or able to speak to the hopes and aspirations held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and leaders for their children. Nor is it our place to speak to the ways in which these hopes and aspirations can be best achieved. That is a role that can only be exercised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples themselves. PeakCare and our members do have a moral responsibility however to challenge racism in all its forms and to speak out against the injustices that have and continue to be meted out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we have a responsibility to actively respect the cultural authority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities, and to take responsibility for our own values and behaviours that we bring to the relationships we have with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their leaders and community-controlled organisations. As Family Matters’ National Week of Action draws to its close, that must be what consumes our thoughts and defines our actions.

Have YOU taken the Families Matters’ pledge?

Is your organisation a supporter of the Families Matters campaign?

Mission Australia Youth Survey 2018 now open for young people

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is Australia’s largest online youth survey that aims to find what issues and aspirations are at the forefront of the minds of young people. A record 24,000 young people participated in the 2017 Youth Survey, identifying mental health, alcohol and drugs, and equity and discrimination as the most concerning issues in Australia. The 2018 is now open for young people aged 15 to 19. View more about the findings from the 2017 report here.


A new national approach to preventing youth suicide 

Practitioners and families are called to support a new ten-point approach to preventing youth suicide. yourtown has released a Position Paper based on the voices of young people accessing Kids Helpline and input from practitioners to bridge the current lack of a coordinated national youth suicide prevention strategy. All community support organisations and health services must commit to working together to provide integrated support for young people and their families facing this issue. Read the Position Paper as a starting point to contributing to the conversation. Based on feedback, yourtown has also created two new comics to help young people who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, or may be concerned about a friend, as well as a guide for parents on how to have a conversation with young people about suicide, and how to provide support. Service providers are encouraged to make these easy to understand resources available to clients.

What does stability mean to young people? 

G-Force is a statewide work group chaired by the CREATE Foundation. G-Force aims to share knowledge, practice, linkages and advice to practitioners and policymakers, and integrate the participation of children, young people and workers into the child protection system. As part of their work, G-Force is asking service providers and young people - including young people in care - to define what stability means to them - and email their responses to Lorraine Dupree at or give her a call on 0439 790 360.

National Children's Day 2018

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) has announced the theme for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day for 2018Celebrating Our Children for 30 Years. National Children's Day is held on 4th August, and this year SNAICC invites the community to look back on some of the highlights of the last three decades supporting and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are from the longest living culture in the world, and look forward to celebrating and protecting their futures. To be involved, register or attend an event and order resources to help commemorate the event.

A closer look at Closing the Gap targets during the Family Matters Week of Action

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has published a report analysing the Closing the Gap targets, the evidence on their progress and discussing the Closing the Gap Refresh initiative. The report found that progress for only three of the seven targets was on track: Year 12 attainment, child mortality, and early childhood education participation. Key drivers associated with each target were also summarised, with family socioeconomic status factoring as a driver for every target. The report identified key themes underpinning drivers of change across all targets included recognising social determinants as critical, the significant impact of remoteness, a need for improved access to services and further investment, and a need for further research and evidence to strengthen the knowledge base. During the Family Matters Week of Action, this analysis provides an important opportunity to critically examine the commitment of government to Closing the Gap. Read the report.

Calls for abstracts

The Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) National Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. The Conference will be held 20th to 23rd November at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel with the theme Be the change: Leaving no one behind. Abstracts are now invited in any of the five streams/identified stages in the family lifecourse: the first 1000 days, key transitions in the schooling years, partnering and cohabitation, relationship breakdown, and ageing. Abstract submissions close Monday, 28th May
The International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide has invited The Healing Foundation and The University of Sydney to join together in Sydney on 26th to 29th November. Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – The Eighth Gathering will share the experiences, resilience and challenges confronting Indigenous peoples across the world. Abstract submissions are invited until Wednesday, 30th May of less than 500 words on any of the five conference themes articulating a strengths-based approach to Indigenous issues.

Strong communities. Strong culture. Stronger children - Celebrating the Family Matters National Week of Action

The Family Matters National Week of Action began with multiple screenings around the country of After the Apology, a 2017 documentary film written and directed by Larissa Behrendt. Family Matters is led by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), the National Voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Their vision is an Australian society in which the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families are protected and communities are empowered to determine their own futures and cultural identity is valued. Read more.

If you have contributions you'd like to donate to the Ice Bank, or know of a program, group or organisation that should be In the Spotlight, please contact Lorraine Dupree.

Self-determination, community control, active efforts, partnerships - back to basics

The Family Matters National Week of Action is a timely reminder to revisit just some resources developed by Family MattersQATSICPP and SNAICC. Fundamentally these documents assert positions, strategies and bottom-lines to realise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination and address the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in child and family service systems.

The Family Matters Report 2017 includes key statistics and commentary about over and under-representation as well as input from state and territory governments and peak and/or community-controlled organisations about efforts and progress.

QATSICPP’s Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Definition and Standards was guided by community input and knowledge and endorsed by members. The definition and standards seek provide a framework to support children, families, communities and organisations to ensure their children are safe in culture and not in care; preserve the intent of community control as a concept and core mechanism for self-determination; and provide a clear, standardised definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control and community controlled services operating in a contemporary child and family wellbeing context. 

QATSICPP’s Position statement on Aboriginal Kinship Care draws on the booklet about understanding and applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle to contextualise the elements of the Child Placement Principle – prevention, participation, partnership, placement, connection – and set out changes needed in legislation, policy, programs, processes and practice to realise a new approach to Aboriginal Kinship Care in Queensland.

The paper refers to the Guidelines for Implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act which mandate the use of ‘active efforts’, defined as affirmative, active, thorough and timely efforts, to maintain or reunite an Indian child with their family. These are referenced because it is only through true active efforts that best practice will be realised for Aboriginal children.

SNAICC’s Opening Doors through Partnerships addresses some questions in unpacking partnership rhetoric to identify elements of genuine partnership development relating to the different stages of partnership development, operation and management; resources and practical support to enable genuine partnerships; and practical approaches that contribute to successful partnerships between community controlled and non-Indigenous services.

Cherbourg Women: Our Struggle, Our Fight screening
Brisbane - Saturday, 19th May
Presented by 
Family Matters

As part of Family Matters National Week of Action, this screening of Cherbourg Women - My Struggle, My Fight on Saturday, 19th May at 5.30pm at Kuril Dhagun, Level 1 of the State Library in Brisbane will showcase the moving journey documented by Yamaji filmmaker Janine Kelly, who travelled to Cherbourg Community with her Aunty Rhonda Collard-Spratt to hear the personal stories of Cherbourg women suffering the removal of their children and grandchildren, and fighting to have them returned to their families. View the flyer for more details.

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention / Mandatory Reporting
Hervey Bay - Tuesday, 22nd May
Presented by NAPCAN

This 3-hour interactive workshop covers essential knowledge for anyone working with children and young people, particularly those covered by mandatory reporting requirements. Topics covered include: roles and responsibilities in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, legislative requirements including mandatory reporting, organisational/individual responsibility in responding to early indicators of harm and family support needs, how to respond, and prevention strategies. This workshop will also be held in other locations around Queensland. Find out more and register

Effective Supervision for Supervisors - being the best you can be!
Brisbane - Thursday, 31st May
Presented by Encompass Family and Community

Supervisors in the area of child, youth and family welfare commonly learn how to supervise solely through ‘on the job’ experience. Their main source of knowledge may be their own experiences of being supervised. This interactive one-day workshop helps supervisors in child and family welfare and youth services to understand supervision as a specific area of practice and to develop their practice skills in this area.  Participants consider contemporary thinking and knowledge around supervision frameworks and models and are supported to use this in developing their supervision practice approach. Find out more and register.

Tough Conversations in Child Protection
Brisbane - Thursday, 31st May
Presented by Parentshop

A comprehensive one-day course for child protection professionals and family workers to help them to hold the often-challenging conversations with parents in child protection.The workshop helps busy professionals to quickly assess and prepare for tough conversations in situations where a clarity-of-message can make all the difference for vulnerable families. Find out more and register.

Creating Inclusion: Giving parents a voice
Brisbane - Friday, 1st June
Presented by Family Inclusion Network

Parents and families are invited to a free 3-hour forum to hear how other parents have amplified their voice and are changing ‘the system’. Creating Inclusion: Giving parents a voice is a forum that will hear from parents who have experienced children removal, and are now working as parent representatives at the renowned project Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter. Key speaker Jessica Cocks will share her Churchill Fellowship research on child protection and out-of-home care in the USA, Canada, Norway and the UK. Child minding will be available on site. Family inclusion in the child protection and care systems is a related free three-hour workshop on Thursday, 31st May for practitioners on learnings from the Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter project, an innovative group aimed at building a family inclusive chidl protection and out-of-home-care system.

Gurrumul - special screening
Brisbane - Sunday, 3rd June
Presented by Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation Qld

ANTaR will hold a special fundraising screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Gurrumul, about the Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, the most commercially successful Aboriginal Australian musician in history, who sang stories of his land in Yolŋu languages and in English. Gurrumul was formerly a member of Yothu Yindi, and later Saltwater Band. All proceeds from the screening will go towards supporting the policy, advocacy and community education projects of ANTaR, who receive no government funding. Purchase tickets or view the poster for more details. 


Stuff That Sucks
Brisbane - Wednesday, 27th June
Presented by Compass Seminars

This full-day workshop will introduce participants to the fundamentals of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with a specific focus on its successful application with younger people. ACT is an empirically supported therapeutic approach that draws on behavioural and mindfulness principles to help people make space for painful thoughts and feelings and instead turn their focus towards values. ACT is rapidly growing in popularity internationally and is being used successfully with people experiencing a range of life challenges including low mood, worries, difficult behaviour, anger, anxiety, and interpersonal or family conflict. Find out more and register. This workshop will also be held at the Gold Coast on 25th June and Toowoomba on 26th June.

Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference
Gold Coast - Monday, 28th and Tuesday, 29th May 

The Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is hosting the annual Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference covering a broad range of topics including prevention, treatment, systematic responses, behaviours, mental health and harm reduction in relation to all types of addiction.  The program will include emerging trends and the various addictive habits of alcohol and other drugs, gambling, and more. View the program, find out more about the speakers, or register now.

Ending Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Family Violence Conference
Sydney - Tuesday, 29th to Wednesday, 30th May

The Ending Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Family Violence Conference has been designed to help make the change toward ending violence in Indigenous Australian communities. The conference will provide practical guidance on how to be more effective in the areas of prevention, healing, response, and working with people who use violence, as well as how to increase self-determination. View the programfind out more about speakers or register now.

2018 Creating Child Safe Organisations
Sydney - Tuesday, 29th to Wednesday, 30th May

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is hosting a National Conference to explore the plans to improve prevention and enhance responses to child sexual abuse. The Conference will explore future directions, how to implement a child safe culture and framework, how to improve incident reporting and responses and how to equip staff to support child safe environments. View the program or register now.

Family inclusion in the child protection and care sytems
Brisbane - Thursday, 31st May

This is a free three-hour workshop hosted by Family Inclusion Network for practitioners on learnings from the Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter project, an innovative group aimed at building a family inclusive child protection and out-of-home-care system. Participants will do activities to develop ideas for practice change and program development that is family inclusive. At the end of this session participants will have identified a set of strategies that they can implement in their own setting to help build and promote family inclusion in child protection and out of home care and improve outcomes for children. Find out more and register. Parents and families are invited to a separate free 3-hour forum to hear how other parents have amplified their voice and are changing ‘the system’. Creating Inclusion: Giving parents a voice is a forum that will hear from parents who have experienced children removal, and are now working as parent representatives at the renowned Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter.

Access to justice for migrant and refugee women impacted by violence
Webinar - Thursday, 31st May

This webinar will is hosted by 1800RESPECT and will be delivered by Magistrate Anne Goldsbrough and Ms Maria Dimopoulos, who will discuss issues impacting on access to justice for migrant and refugee women, including: barriers to reporting family violence, communication barriers, and barriers to full participation in the court process. Find out more and register.

ACA 2018 National Childcare Conference
Gold Coast - Friday, 1st June to Sunday, 3rd June

Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland will deliver the 2018 National Childcare Conference – Together We Grow, It Takes A Village. For more details, view the program or find out more about the speakers. Register here.

Doing School Differently Conference
Gold Coast - Thursday, 28th to Friday, 29th June

Berry Street Childhood Institute presents this conference which offers a unique opportunity to advance the national conversation on practice and research in flexible and inclusive education by bringing together educators, researchers, policy makers and young people who are committed to developing and sustaining successful educational opportunities and pathways for young people who have experienced barriers. The conference will explore a diverse range of topics including trauma-informed practice, how to develop individualised and flexible learning plans, case studies of alternative education methods, supporting young parents and their children, improving disability inclusion, and youth mental health challenges. Find out more and register.

2018 AIFS Conference: What matters most to families in the 21st Century?
Melbourne - Wednesday, 25th July to Friday, 27th July

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is the Australian government’s key research body in the area of family wellbeing. Every two years, the AIFS Conference offers unrivalled opportunities to mix with leading thinkers, decision-makers and researchers across a range of sectors and disciplines who are dedicated to improving the lives of families. Join leading thinkers and change-makers at the 2018 AIFS Conference – What matters most to families in the 21st Century? which will look ahead and ask: what does the future for families look like? What are the challenges and opportunities and how prepared are we? Exploring these questions requires boldness, curiosity and imagination, and the AIFS 2018 Conference will provide rich debate and inquiry, and encourage participants to engage with the emerging issues for families. The Conference MCs will be Virginia Trioli, ABC journalist, and Madonna King, writer and journalist and the Conference boasts a range of renowned speakers

Visit the Events page on our website for other opportunities in the sector. You can also email your professional development opportunities so that we may promote them through future editions of eNews.

Registered Nurse, Street to Home (After Hours) - Micah Projects 

Micah Projects is seeking a Registered Nurse for a part-time, after-hours position in the Street to Home team (6pm-midnight shifts). Street to Home provides support to people who are experiencing chronic homelessness to move into and sustain long term housing through a Housing First approach. Find out more and apply. Applications close 5pm, Thursday 24th May.

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