FRSA eBulletin - 16 December 2016
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With just over a week to go before Christmas you would think that wind down mode would be the general rule of thumb. On the contrary, people I have been speaking to are racing to the finish line!
For us, the month of December has been a busy one too. The FRSA Conference in Canberra was held with great success and I am grateful to the 400+ delegates who attended from around Australia. I do not underestimate the effort, time and expense associated with attending the Conference and I am always extremely pleased to know that FRSA has held a Conference that resonates extremely well with people who attended. You can read more about the Conference in this version of the e-bulletin. We also have some great
photos to share. The majority of presentations are available to be shared and we are in the process of uploading these to the FRSA website which we hope to have complete by Christmas. And, we launched the inaugural e-journal of FRSA Conference concurrent session presentations.  Congratulations to all those who had their work published!
FRSA Board met directly after the Conference with newly appointed Board Member, Paula Washington in attendance. Paula replaced Dr Ricki Jeffery who did not stand for nomination for the FRSA Board this year. Ricki’s commitment and contribution to the FRSA Board was formally acknowledged by the FRSA Chair, Mr Michael Austin, FRSA Board colleagues and AGM attendees at the FRSA AGM held on 1 December, 2016 in Canberra.
At the FRSA Board meeting it was also agreed to co-opt Judge Matthew Myers for a further year as a member of the FRSA Board and we are grateful that he has accepted the Board’s offer of appointment. Full details of the
FRSA Board Members are available on the FRSA Website
There are a number of key events being planned for the year ahead. FRSA Conference 2017 will be held in either Melbourne or Sydney in late November. We are just settling venue and date details but hope to have them out early in the New Year. We are also looking to hold a FRSA Strategic Leadership Forum in March in Canberra. This will have a slightly different format from different years so, watch this space!  And, in response to our member survey earlier this year, we will be holding FRSA Regional Forums in 2017. The intention will be to hold those in the winter months and I will be in contact with our members in the States and Territories looking for members who will be willing to host and be actively involved in those forums. We will also be looking to continue our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practitioners in our network in the first quarter of next year to continue the work begun on the FRSA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Framework. 
We are also looking forward to releasing early in the New Year, the research piece Professor John Toumbourou has been working with us on, focussing on the prevention and early intervention potential of family and relationship services in responding to a range of social and health problems. Professor Toumbourou presented at the FRSA Conference on his thinking and work to date which resonated strongly with delegates in attendance. We are excited by this work and look forward to working with our members moving forward to unpack, explore and define the next steps.
There are also a range of government lead/government initiated inquiries that will also require our attention into the new year: the Family Law Commission Report, the KPMG Report, the Productivity Commission Report and no doubt others that will arise in the New Year.
The Federal Government is also running its annual “Pre-Budget Submission process” that will be due in mid-January. If you do have any particular issues you would like FRSA to raise in our submission, I ask you to make contact
myself or Adam at the office on (02) 6162 1811.
Whilst I have spoken a lot about our plans ahead, the end of the year also gives us a chance to stop, look back and reflect on the last twelve months. You will find a link to FRSA 2015-16 Annual Report in this e-bulletin and I do ask you to have a look through the work we have been doing on behalf of our FRSA membership this year.
I thank you for your continued support, investment and commitment to the FRSA network. Because, in being part of FRSA, you are indeed part of a much bigger and broader network of organisations committed to the wellbeing of children, families and communities.
I wish you a Happy Christmas filled with love and laughter and look forward to the busy year ahead we have in 2017!

Featured in this eBulletin you will find:

FRSA National Conference 2016 - a success by many measures
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
FRSA National Conference Prize Winners
FRSA is excited to launch the first e-journal of peer-reviewed papers of the FRSA National Conference 2016
Productivity Commission Issues Paper: Reforms to Human Services
Try, Test and Learn Fund
Children and young people in separated families study
Australian Law Reform Commission releases report on elder abuse
Mission Australia releases Annual Youth Survey results
Beyondblue launches Healthy Families website
National Disability Strategy - Driving Action 2015-2018, the Second Implementation Plan
Children's rights report
FRSA Annual Report 2015-16

Best regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

Merry Christmas from FRSA!
We wish you a safe and happy New Year.

FRSA National Conference 2016 - a success by many measures!
Just over 400 people attended this year’s FRSA Conference in Canberra. The theme Measuring Success in the family and relationship sector – for the wellbeing of children, families and communities attracted practitioners, managers, researchers, government workers and others with an interest in the family and relationship sector – from right around the country.

So far around 20% of all conference delegates have submitted an evaluation form. Survey responses to date indicate a number of highlights, and high satisfaction with the quality of presenters, session content, facilities and social events:
  • Our international and Australian speakers set the bar high when it came to the quality and depth of keynote presentations. Those attracting the most ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ ratings for their presentations were Professor John Toumbourou (Deakin University), who made a persuasive case for prevention and early intervention, and Associate Profesor Moira Inkelas (UCLA), who encouraged a system, learning-focussed approach to improving outcomes.
  • Evaluation respondents ranked both panel sessions highly for ‘vibrancy and presentation - How best to take a prevention and early intervention approach… and What is ‘good enough’ evidence? both generated animated audience discussion.
  • Satisfaction with quality and relevance of concurrent sessions also ranked highly, with fewer than 5% noting specific dissatisfaction with content, and under 10% noting only partial satisfaction with presentations. Accolades included:
    • Brilliant – almost too good to choose!
    • Broad range of topics; knowledgeable and well-prepared presenters
    • ‘Excellent and refreshing’
    • Overall a great mix of input and expertise from both practitioners and researchers, well informed
  • When asked which concurrent session was the highlight, respondents gave a variety of responses, suggesting that the breadth of topics on offer ensured ‘something for everyone’. The topic most often selected was When hate takes hold after parental separation, co-presented by Bruce Smyth, Timothy Broady, Rebecca Gray with discussant Lawrie Moloney.
  • Most respondents were complimentary about the conference ‘scaffolding’ such as the program structure and duration, venue, facilities, catering, exhibitor area and administrative support; and comments about the social and networking events were largely favourable:
    • Loved it and can’t wait for next year!
    • Dr Michael Carr-Gregg was a perfect choice for dinner speaker
    • The thought wall was a good idea and linking it in the plenaries made people notice that their thoughts were actually being read and heard.
  • We did receive some very thoughtful comments about specific aspects of the conference program, content and ‘operational’ elements, and will be taking these on board in planning for future events. There is always some ‘balancing’ required in order to ensure sufficient momentum and depth, as well as opportunities for networking and socialising, so we appreciate your feedback.
  • Finally, the pre-Conference workshops on Family Law Services, Communities for Children and Transformation of the social services system were also well-attended, offering opportunities for group discussion on key issues that are currently shaping our sector.
If you attended the conference but haven’t yet submitted an evaluation form, it’s not too late – and you’ll still be in the running for a ‘lucky door’ prize. Your frank reflections about what worked well, what didn’t, and what might need to change are important for helping us shape the next conference to meet the learning and networking needs of our sector. Click here to complete the evaluation form

Whether or not you attended the conference, you’ll be able to access the powerpoint presentations via the FRSA Conference page early next week. We are currently in the process of seeking permissions and editing our website to feature the presentations.

And – don’t miss next year’s National FRSA Conference - details to come soon!
View the Conference photos here
Visit our Conference webpage to view photos from the conference, and check out our Facebook page! We encourage you to #sectorshare and upload your photos from the event to the FRSA Facebook page
During the three day conference FRSA delegates had the chance to go into the draw to win some exciting prizes on offer!

Prizes included a $500 Flight Centre voucher, a lucky door prize consisting of one free night at the Crowne Canberra and 2x tickets to the Versailles Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, and a runner up lucky door prize which was kindly donated by FRSA Silver Sponsor CTARS, 3 free months of CTARS client management and data software trial for up to 10 users. FRSA Exhibitor Guild Insurance also offered conference delegates a chance to win an iPhone 7 simply by visiting their booth and signing up to go into the draw.  
FRSA is proud to announce the Conference Prize Winners 

$500 Flight Centre voucher: Joanne Smith, UCCommunity
1 night accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Canberra and 2x tickets to the Versailles Exhibition: 
Emma Streeton, Marymead

3 free month CTARS client management and data software trial for up to 10 users: Maria Singleton, LifeWorks
Guild Insurance iPhone 7: Greg Lewis, Child and Family Services, Ballarat

Huge congratulations to the winners, we hope you enjoy your prizes!
FRSA is excited to launch the first e-journal of peer-reviewed papers of the FRSA National Conference 2016!
This first edition e-journal reflects the 2016 FRSA National Conference theme Measuring Success in the family and relationship sector for the wellbeing of children, families and communities.

From the 56 successful abstracts submitted to the Conference, authors were invited to expand on their ideas and submit a 6,000 word paper. After an extensive blind review process, those successful were selected for publication in the e-journal.

Reflecting the Conference concurrent session streams, the successful papers focus on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, the first 1000 days, and successful workforce preparedness in the sector (originally submitted for the 2015 FRSA Conference). 

The e-journal is freely available via
our website. FRSA is very excited to launch this publication and looks forward to publishing future e-journals that align with FRSA conferences in years to come. 

Productivity Commission Issues Paper: Reforms to Human Services

In April 2016, the Federal Treasure requested the Productivity Commission to undertake a two-stage inquiry into Australia's human services, including health, education, and community services, with a focus on innovative ways to improve outcomes through introducing the principles of competition and informed user choice whilst maintaining or improving quality of service.

Stage 1 comprised an inquiry into Australia's human services, including health, education, and community services, with a focus on innovative ways to improve outcomes through introducing the principles of competition and informed user choice whilst maintaining or improving quality of service.
A Preliminary Findings Report was released on 22 September 2016; FRSA submitted a response to this on 27 October 2016.

Stage 2, involving a more extensive examination, commenced on 12 December 2016 when the Productivity Commission released its Reforms to Human Services Issues Paper. The paper identifies issues about which the Commission now seeks further information, and provides a guide to assist participants prepare submissions to the public inquiry into Human Services (see below).
Particular issues on which Stage 2 will focus are:

  • the roles and responsibilities of consumers, service providers (including the private sector, government agencies and the not for profit sector) and governments in the delivery of human services
  • the factors affecting consumers’ use of services and their preferences for models of service delivery, noting the challenges facing consumers with complex and chronic needs, or reduced capacity to make informed choices
  • the benefits and costs of promoting competition in the provision of human services
  • how best to promote innovation and improvements in the quality, range and funding of human services
  • the challenges facing the provision of human services in rural and remote areas
  • the need to improve Indigenous outcomes.

Submissions are due by 10 February 2017. FRSA will be coordinating a submission and invites member organisations to contribute feedback on the issues noted above by 27 January 2017. (Check Jackie)

For more information on the Inquiry and the submission process,
please visit here.

At the end of Stage 2, the Commission will provide an inquiry report making recommendations on how to introduce greater competition, contestability and user choice to the services that were identified above.

Try, Test and Learn Fund 

The Try, Test and Learn Fund is the Australian Government’s first response to the ‘Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare’. The Fund opened on 9 December 2016 and will close on 24 February 2017, and is expected to re-open for ideas several times over coming years.

The Fund has been set up to support trials of new or innovative policy responses to help people live independently of welfare, focusing primarily on young carers, young parents and young students who have capacity to work but who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Does your organisation have ideas about engaging more creatively with young people so that, with encouragement and assistance, they are able to increase their capacity for independence and work, secure long-term employment and sustain material and social wellbeing? In particular, the Government is interested in new insights and empirical evidence into ‘what works’ to reduce long term welfare dependence. Funded ideas will help to test assumptions about what it takes to change behaviours, pathways or systems to improve workforce participation and will feed into Government policy.

For more information, and to submit an idea, please click here.

Children and young people in separated families study

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is conducting a new study to help find out how family law system services can best help children when their parents separate. 

AIFS invites children and young people aged 10-17 years whose parents have separated, and one of their parents, to share their experiences.

This research is aimed at better understanding the experiences of children and young people after the separation of their parents, and the extent to which their needs are met by family law system services.

To participate or find out more, visit
Australian Law Reform Commission releases report on elder abuse

On 12 December, 2016 the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released a Discussion Paper for its Elder Abuse Inquiry, Elder Abuse (DP 83), and is calling for comments and feedback. This is the second consultation document for this Inquiry.

The Discussion Paper includes 43 proposals for law reform, in a number of areas including, powers of investigation for public advocates and public guardians, enduring powers of attorney and enduring guardianship, family agreements, banking, aged care and social security.

The ALRC invites submissions in response to the proposals, or to any of the material in the Discussion Paper. Submissions are due to the ALRC by 27 February 2016. The ALRC final report will be presented to the Attorney-General in May 2017. 

To read the
Discussion Paper, Elder Abuse (DP 83) please click here.

Mission Australia releases Annual Youth Survey results 

Mission Australia's Youth Survey 2016 has revealed that the top three personal concerns facing Australia today are alchol and drugs, equity and discrimination and mental health. This was the first time that mental health had entered the top three in 15 years of reporting, reflecting the fact that concerns about mental health have doubled since 2011. 

The data was collected from a record number of 22,000 respondents aged 15 to 19 .

To read more about the Youth Survey 2016 results and download the complete report, please visit the
Mission Australia website here

Beyondblue launches Healthy Families website

A new website focusing on mental health has been launched by beyondblue. The website Healthy Families aims to support parents and carers with information for each developmental stage.

The website provides a space to chat by using community forums and includes mental health checklists and resources for those seeking support. 

For more information, please visit the
Healthy Families website here

National Disability Strategy - Driving Action 2015-2018, 
the Second Implementation Plan

Driving Action 2015-2018, the Second Implementation Plan under the National Disability Strategy has been launched by Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter. 

The Second Implementation Plan outlines new priority actions and builds on ongoing commitments to improving outcomes for people with disability across the Strategy’s six policy outcome areas: inclusive and accessible communities; rights protection, justice and legislation; economic security; personal and community support; learning and skills; and health and wellbeing.

To read the media release,
please visit here and to learn more about the Strategy and Second Implementation Plan, click here.

Children's rights report

Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, has launched the 2016 Children’s rights report detailing findings of the investigation into the treatment of children and young people in correctional detention in Australia. 

To read more visit the
Australian Human Rights Commission website and to read the report please click here.
FRSA Annual Report 2015-16 is now available, click here to download your copy, or view via the FRSA website. 
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