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- Monday, 28th May 2018 -

Saturday, 26th May was National Sorry Day, the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report (1997), which documented the systematic removal of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly taken from their families and communities. This year’s commemoration of this important day was marred by the NSW government announcement concerning the introduction of its My Forever Family program, with the irony of this announcement being made so close to National Sorry Day not escaping the attention of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal Child Care (SNAICC) and organisers of the Family Matters campaign.
 
It is perhaps a strange time for the New South Wales government to announce controversial changes to child protection – including a push towards open adoptions – when Aboriginal children are so heavily overrepresented in the out-of-home care system (Lorena Allam, The Guardian).

PeakCare strongly supports the concerns about the My Forever Family program raised by our counterparts from NSW peak bodies as reported on by NSW media outlets.
 
SNAICC
When a child must be removed to guarantee their safety, the decisions made must consider connection to kin, culture and country as vital parts of a child’s stability, wellbeing and development. Adoption overrides this.
 
Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec)
Adoption through the statutory child protection system will never be an acceptable or appropriate solution for Aboriginal children. Prioritising adoption over family reunification is contrary to the best interests of all vulnerable children and young people. (Tim Ireland, CEO AbSec)
 
NSW Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)
While permanency for children can take many forms, restoring a child to their birth family whenever possible is always going to be the ultimate goal. Adoption from care is just one small part of the solution, and is appropriate for only a limited number of children. To give it false prominence, as the My Forever Family program reflects, sends the wrong message to the community that out-of-home care is an easy pipeline to adoption. (Andrew McCallum, CEO ACWA)
 
To read SNAICC’s media statement, click here.
 
To read a joint media statement by AbSec and ACWA, click here.
 
PeakCare, SNAICC, AbSec and ACWA would like to hear your views. Your comments can be entered here.

Key findings from family-led decision making trials

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family-led decision making trials in Queensland were introduced in response to recommendations of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. SNAICC has released the SNAICC Report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family-led Decision Making Trials in Queensland January 2016 to June 2017 containing key findings from the three trials and 24 recommendations to inform future roll out of family-led decision making in Queensland.

Key findings include the strengths of unique cultural engagement practices in each trial site, including preparations before meetings and yarning, families feeling more comfortable with trials being conducted through a community organisation, and families proactively problem solving while speaking in language without Child Safety present. Limitations of the trials were identified, including limited size which community members stated as of insufficient scope and sustainability, insufficient time allocated for trial convenors to develop and nurture strong relationships outside of quarterly meetings, and in some cases, insufficient disassociation from departmental-directed processes. At one site, male Elders were presented with the trial design and differences from Departmental processes were explained, and once discussion had taken place, the Elders stated that they would like to see this continue and grow because “it is what we used to do years ago, old ways with Elders”. 

Also released is the evaluation report which identified that the trial successfully met the aims of: promoting self-determination and shared decision making, empowering families to make informed decisions about their children's best interests, and develop capacity of the Recognised Entity to lead culturally sensitive case planning. 


Increase to Newstart recommended by more independent reports

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Salvation Army have both called for an increase to Newstart payments in their respective reports Jobs you can count on and Feeling the Pinch. The ACTU report recommends addressing inequality and discrimination by supporting the role of women in the workforce through the provision of accessible, affordable, quality child care, improvements to paid parental leave and family-friendly work arrangements. The report also recommends Increasing the Newstart allowance substantially and supporting workers with disabilities through improved training and employment support. The Salvation Army reported that their data showed Newstart Allowance recipients had the least amount to live on with only $17 of disposable income per day after accommodation expenses, with 95% of all households living under the poverty line and single parents and couples with children experiencing the lowest standard of living. Over two thirds (67%) of children experienced severe deprivation, where parents could not afford more than five essential items for their children. 


CREATE National Survey open

CREATE’s National Survey 2018 is now open for young people between 18-25 years of age with a care experience to speak about their experiences living in care and have their voices heard. Young people can complete the survey online, or over the phone with their local CREATE office or the National office. The survey is completely anonymous and all respondents enter the draw to win $100 gift vouchers and an iPad Mini 4. For more details on the survey and privacy measures, view the participant information sheet.


Qld Anti-cyber bullying taskforce have your say

The Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce has launched consultation to seek community views about how to prevent and respond to cyberbullying of young people up to the age of 15. Individuals and organisations are invited to send suggestions to prevent cyberbullying and to support those affected if a young person is cyberbullied. Submissions can be emailed to antibullyingtaskforce@premiers.qld.gov.au, or lodged via the Taskforce website. Submissions close Friday, 1st June. Roundtable events for counselling, welfare and community organisations as well as public forums are also taking place as part of the consultation process - visit the Taskforce website for details of upcoming dates.
 

Protective Behaviours Australia Conference 2018 announced

Act for Kids, NAPCAN and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation are partnering with Protective Behaviours Australia, to present the Protective Behaviours Australia Conference at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre on Thursday, 30th to Friday, 31st August. The two-day event features keynote speakers from all across Australia sharing their research, insights and knowledge of protective behaviours. Combined with informative and interactive workshops, attendees will walk away empowered with the knowledge to collectively reduce the incidence and impact of abuse and violence in the community and keep our kids safe. Discounted accommodation rates are available at Oaks Casino Towers, Oaks Festival Towers and ISTAY River City.

Reflections of Site UnseenAddressing trauma across sites where people experiencing domestic and family violence present 

As part of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, Child Safety and Micah Projects partnered to present Site Unseen. This included a panel of experts convened to discuss and analyse the impacts of domestic and family violence related trauma on a woman’s help seeking behaviour. Of particular note was the concern that if trauma remains unseen, a misdiagnosis of her mental health status is likely. 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.

The response so far - domestic and family violence reform in Queensland

In this week’s In the Read we take a closer look at the Queensland government’s progress in implementing domestic and family violence (DFV) reform. The Second Action Plan 2016-19 is underway, the second of four action plans supporting the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026 which provides the framework for actioning responses to recommendations from Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland report. Government reports completing implementation of 90 of the report’s 121 recommendations for government. 

Recommendations that specifically mention children and young people include: student protection protocols for schools (recs 27 and 29); a review into specific challenges faced by people with disability impacted by DFV (rec 10); independently evaluating the process of antenatal screening for DFV in public health facilities (rec 54); implementing immediate access to specialist support services within hospitals (rec 59); further investment in specialist homelessness services for women and children escaping DFV and/or temporary accommodation options for those who use DFV (recs 85 and 86); supporting NGOs deliver initiatives responding to learning and developmental needs of children up to 8 years (enabling action); piloting an intervention model for fathers who expose their children to DFV (rec 80); and broadening the scope of professional practice standards to include young people who have offended (rec 82). For more information and government responses, view the Second Action Plan 2016-19.

Alongside the government’s reforms, community attitudes seem to be changing, with data suggesting more Queenslanders believe violence other than physical is equally serious, and a decreased condoning of violence in general. For Domestic and Family Violence Month in May, the #stopthehurting portal was developed in conjunction with young people to help children and young people understand about, report and access support for DFV. It includes a free downloadable recording available until 17th June 2018 by singer Illy featuring campaign competition winner Travis Lord. The government’s portal also provides resources for young people.

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. 
 

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention / Mandatory Reporting
Toowoomba - Saturday, 16th June
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
 

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.

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 systems
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 unique opportunity to advance the national conversation on 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
 

FRSA 2018 National Conference
Cairns - Tuesday, 20th to Friday, 23rd November 

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 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 today, Monday, 28th May


Healing Our Spirit Worldwide: The Eighth Gathering
Sydney - Monday, 26th to Thursday, 29th November

The International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide has invited The Healing Foundation and The University of Sydney to join together to celebrate the strengths of Indigenous peoples across the world. 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.



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.


Clinical Nurse, Street to Home Assistant Team Leader - Micah Projects

Micah Projects is seeking a full time Clinical Nurse for the Street to Home Assistant Team Leader position. This role requires provision of integrated nursing services to those with complex healthcare and social needs experiencing homelessness or those who are vulnerable or at risk. The position is paid in line with Queensland Health Nurses and Midwives EB Agreement Grade 6. View more details and apply. Applications close Tuesday, 5th June.

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