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Edition 15 - December 2020

  • Parents are heroes (among many)
  • Stuck in a legal minefield?
  • Tips for the heat, holidays and humidity
  • Parents supporting parents
  • What legal questions would YOU ask?
  • Did hell just freeze over? Bahahahha!
  • Adoption as a permanency option
  • HUMAN RIGHTS you say?
  • Cuppa time in the Southeast - Mon 15 Feb 2021!

Parents are heroes (among many)
 

There has never been more cause to celebrate parents than in 2020. Take a bow!

Thank YOU and congratulations to YOU (and all the other fabulous parents and families and carers and workers... and our beautiful babies).

Be kind to yourself (thanks Vanessa). 
Take a well-deserved moment to refresh your heart and soul with these words from other parents:
  • Holding it together when the world falls apart… that’s the true strength of a parent 
  • Look beyond what’s happening. You got to think generationally down the track… Even in the early stages, you got to have that vision. You can’t move from it, you got to focus on it 
  • You can do it: this weekend is the first time in two years that I won't be looking over my shoulder, and asking everyone's permission to do things with my kids 
  • Thank you to all the parents… you have played a huge and important role in empowering me, and so many others. I believe you should be wearing tights and capes daily! You help us become strong, brave, fierce and confident again 
You have been through an enormous set of challenges in 2020.

This year many have had a child or children removed. Or had contact with the children stopped during COVID-19. Or had enormous, excruciating court delays. Or had to work even harder to find the support you wanted and needed, because services shut down and/or went on-line. It even felt like, in 2020, ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘marginalised’ parents had higher levels of scrutiny and surveillance than ever (if that were possible).  

And yet you did it. And you are still doing it.

You got through the 'mainstream struggles' too. The typical stuff that gets written about 2020… this was you too: you struggled with a lost job or hours, or conversely struggled with increased work hours or intense work stress due to COVID-19, and/or you became the home-schooler or the home carer, and/or were cut off from family, friends or support networks, and/or you lost and grieved for dear beloved ones.

Yet you did it.

In 2020, I wonder if it’s “ok” or “allowed” to think about the 1970s concept of being a “good enough parent”. Probably not...

Still, this notion of “good enough” was meant to defend parents against the loss of confidence, caused in part by the ever increasing and conflicting recommendations from “professionals” and “experts”. Decades later, in today's ‘Insta’ age, there is pressure on parents everywhere.

Repeat after me:
YOU ARE “good enough”. You are probably WAY BETTER than good enough.
 
We love the word IMPERFECT. We are all imperfect. Do you think there's a double standard in our society? Some are allowed to fail. Others of us aren’t allowed to fail.

You are enough. You do enough. 

AND on top of that, you have the SHARED STRENGTH of other parents walking alongside you.

Stay astonishing, strong, humble, grateful, hardworking, humour-filled, loving, fun, respectful and curious..

Go well!
From the parents and peeps at the Family Inclusion Network, Southeast Queensland.

 

 

Stuck in a legal minefield?


What does the 'legal landscape' look like for parents experiencing the child protection system? And/or experiencing the Family Law system? And/or the criminal system? According to some FIN members – it looks like these maps and timelines!

Change is possible: government and legal professionals are putting the 'human' at the centre of their thinking. And they are asking "How might we improve the system(s)?" Because the systems aren't working for the kids, the young people - or the workers, or parents, or carers.
 
Are you interested and able to participate in projects aiming to improve the many, many parts of the legal system for parents? Let us know
info@finseq.org.au 

What tips do you have for the heat and the holidays and the humidity? 


How's everyone going?

Parent to parent... what helps you in the heat and the holidays?! We love the words we've been hearing. We’ll say it again "...imperfect..." is a big fav! We quite like "music" and "water" and "breathe" too. What are your words?

At a parent cuppa catchup recently we added……..
Air con + meet up with  friends + be kind to yourself + cuddles + support + freedom + purpose...

At this parent get-together, everyone was interested in hearing about free events over the summer break. Below are some gems.
Big sorry if they don’t cover your place, or if they’re are out of date… at least they might give your frazzled, tired parent brain a fresh idea or two 😊  Be safe and well everyone! 

Parents supporting parents


Would you like to speak with a parent who’s "been there done that” in the child protection system? These workers exist. FIN in North Queensland has volunteers who help parents one-on-one. So do some other Australian states and countries. Do you think formal and paid roles for parents to use their lived experience and expertise would help here in Queensland?

The roles are generally called ‘peer workers’ or ‘parent advocates’ (arguments sometimes arise about what they “should be” called).

Job title aside, the value of peer workers is evidence based. There is an extensive body of research demonstrating the benefits. Lots of this sits in the areas of ‘health’ or ‘disability’ or ‘alcohol & drug’ support services. So why not child protection?

“The Health Workforce Australia literature scan found that peer workers complemented traditional teams delivering mental health services in a variety of ways:
  • Peer workers help deliver effective outcomes for service users
  • Peer workers help drive positive culture change
  • Peer workers help deliver better outcomes for families and carers
  • Peer workers are key to recovery-oriented services
  • Peer workers help reduce hospitalisations”
New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has a pilot program that pairs parents navigating the foster care system with parent advocates who know what it’s like.

Called Parents Supporting Parents, the program aims to increase the number of children who are reunited with their families.

Sure, we know the USA has been waning as ‘flavour of the month’. We love local: we love the idea of thinking and growing and buying and working local. After all, family and community is everything.

Still evidence is evidence.

Under the New York pilot program, paid parent advocates serve as mentors within a designated foster care case planning unit. The parent advocates connect with each parent entering their assigned unit, including participating in case decision-making and helping families reunify with their children.

Parents have been advocating for something like this here in Queensland. Bobbi Robertson, President of FIN Townsville pitched the idea again to the Director-General and Minister in the last QPAC (Queensland Parents Advisory Committee) meeting before the election.

We heard then, and since, that minds are open to the conversation… Do you think Minister Linard should try the idea here in Queensland? 

Read more here:
Child Welfare Program Leverages Parent Advocates to Help Reunite Families - The Annie E. Casey Foundation (aecf.org)

 


What legal questions would you ask?

 
If YOU had a bunch of lawyers on your side: all in a room… what would you ask them? How many questions would you have?

A dozen parents came up with more than 60 questions about child protection and the legal system in 5 minutes. Here are a few:
  • There are many discrepancies & grey areas around how the legal systems work with DOCS and Family Court. How can this be simplified?
  • Why are affidavits only given to parents up to two days before court?
  • What if someone can’t afford the court fees of a lawyer? Or get rejected from Legal Aid funding? Do they lose their kids because of money even though they are capable of looking after their children?
  • How do you deal with mistakes made before, during and after legal proceedings (i.e. wrong decisions / misconstrued information / departmental "misunderstandings", false allegations, etc)? What accountability (if any) is taken by "professionals" for these mistakes as the impacts on families are devastating?
  • Why is there not enough time given to parents to seek legal help?
Powerful parents will be relentless in finding answers and building allies for action.

The Official Solicitor from the Office of Family and Child Official Solicitor is listening and is eager to work in partnership with parents. So are senior staff from Legal Aid Queensland, the Queensland Office of the Public Guardian, and the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

Are you a legal worker past or present who wants to help parents - at the systems level?
Please become a FIN ally, join here FIN,SEQ

Did hell just freeze over? Bahhahahaa!


“I never thought I’d see the day that I was writing a Christmas card to child safety!!” Bahhahahahhaaaha!

Parents are awesome but none of us can do much alone. 

Parent leaders who have had their say in system change this year have felt welcomed, invited, respected, and listened to. 

THANK YOU to the workers, the allies, the executives, the lawyers, the CEOs and Directors-General, and the Ministers and MPs - we're all in it for the families and the kids!

See you in 2021 for goodness knows what... We really hope 2021 will see parents keep growing Equal Chance, and that FIN,SEQ will stay walking alongside. Because we know that parents and their allies can again achieve big and small things together.

Adoption as a permanency option


In June, we let you know of the proposal to change legislation (via an 'Amendment Bill') to "routinely and genuinely" consider adoption as a suitable permanency option in the Queensland child protection system.

The new Queensland Government has wasted no time in bringing this Bill back to Parliament for consideration. 

It's not well supported by stakeholders. Last time the Bill was looked at by a Parliamentary Committee they received 39 submissions from people or organisations giving their view (glance at them here if you have time).

Ninety percent (90%) of these submissions did not support the Amendment Bill in its entirety.
 

What can I do?


Plenty! The Queensland Parliament is open to hearing from anyone about this Bill.

Go ahead and write to them now CSSC@parliament.qld.gov.au. Just a few words are needed and you will have had your say in Parliament!
You have to be quick though. You need to comment by 5:00pm on Wednesday, 6 January 2021. Happy Holidays 😉


Other things you can do:

  • FIN,SEQ wrote to Parliament earlier in the year, our submission is still available alongside the other 38 submissions – have a read 
  • Read more info on the Parliament’s page here
  • Read about previous Equal Chance here
  • Join FIN,SEQ here
  • Write to FIN,SEQ or Equal Chance at info@finseq.org.au … draw us a picture, write a poem for publication…. Together we make change

HUMAN RIGHTS you say?


Thanks for giving us a human rights workshop last month Celia! The fire of knowledge is burning even brighter now. Parents are keen to meet up with the Queensland Human Rights Commission in 2021. qhrc.qld.gov.au
 
Parents in the southeast – come have a cuppa on Monday 15 Feb 2021!

FIN,SEQ’s first Parent Cuppa Time (our monthly get-together) will be on
MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2021 –
9:30am-11:00am –
at Wellspring Hawthorne, 
28 Malcolm Street, Hawthorne 
 


We hold morning or afternoon teas ('cuppa time catchups') with parents to share their experiences with other parents who have walked along the same path.

Get in touch with us to find out the next cuppa time catchup is.
 
The Family Inclusion Network SEQ
07 3013 6030
info@finseq.org.au
facebook.com/finseq
finseq.org.au
Facebook
Website
Copyright © 2020 Family Inclusion Network SEQ, All rights reserved.


The Family Inclusion Network SEQ
07 3013 6030
facebook.com/finseq
finseq.org.au

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