Conference 2017 has come and gone - thankfully a great success! All the preparation, calling for abstracts, sourcing speakers, program building, developing the event structure and the months of discussions and conversations that happen... only to have the event fly by so quickly, you blink and it is almost Christmas!
As the biggest conference in the family and relationship services sector and a key event in bringing our sector together - with each FRSA Conference we try to build on the year before, from theming, linking it in to current sector issues and conversations, finding experts and dynamic speakers, the list goes on. So, in getting ahead for next year, FRSA was VERY excited to be able to announce next year's Conference theme, Be the change: Leaving no one behind. The 2018 Conference will be held in Cairns, 27-30 November.
This gives us an opportunity to be one step ahead for next year, with aims to get more conference detail out to the sector sooner! As always, to stay in the loop with all Conference information, subscribe to our Conference Update here.
Now Conference madness has passed there are a few other items that I would like to highlight FRSA has moved office, we managed to do so only a few weeks before conference, so December provides us some time to unpack the rest of those boxes, and get our office looking sharp again. Our new address can be found below, I ask that you all update your records accordingly.
FRSA is planning for next year already, with Regional Forums, Conference 2018, further work on the FRSA Research Report, and more!
With the lead up to Christmas, everything is coming to a close. I remind you that we have our Training and Events Calendar and our Jobs Board available for advertising/promotion – especially if you have something on early next year, get in touch with our Communications Officer, Roslyn here.
On behalf of FRSA, I wish you a very safe and happy Christmas and new year.
FRSA Executive Director
FRSA 2017 Conference recap!
Wow! A simple, single-word statement that summarises this year's Conference.
With 430+ registered in attendance at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) this year, to hear from national and international speakers on creative ways to strengthen family wellbeing in Australia.
FRSA tag teamed with Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA) who also held their National Conference (read more here) at the MCEC. FRSA would like to congratulate Denise Lacey and her wonderful team at MAREAA on the success of their conference - it was great to team up and support each other in achieving successful conferences.
The FRSA Conference featured a HUGE line up of international and national keynote speakers, three indepth panel discussions and a variety of thought-provoking concurrent sessions following streams in the life course from our brilliant medley of speakers.
Highlights, in particular, include a very moving keynote delivered by Professor Kerry Arabena, on future focussed wellbeing emphasising the importance on the first 1000 days - her engaging delivery resulting in resounding applause from a very full plenary.
A particular focus of Thursday’s program was Family Law - presenting a stunning line-up of speakers with the Attorney-General, the Hon George Brandis; the former Chief Justice of the Family Court, the Hon Diana Bryant and the newly appointed Commissioner to the Australian Law Reform Commission, Professor Helen Rhoades speaking. It was during the Attorney-General's keynote where he announced a further $468 million over three years to continually fund family law services which was well received by the sector.
Technology - always an important topic to look at in this fast moving tech world especially in terms of our sector and the services delivered - we had Refuel Creative, Managing Director, Mr Ryan Jones looked at how technology will shape the future of service delivery - the challenges, the positives and the processes - his keynote was engaging and humorous - he identified one person who did not have a smart phone!
The FRSA Conference Gala Dinner, held at Aerial, provided a great networking event for the sector, great food and great company - the key to any enjoyable night out. Also acknowledged at the FRSA dinner, was a fairly informal 10th birthday celebration for FRSA, led by CRC Chair, Fiona Harley as MC of the evening.
This week, evaluation surveys were sent out to all who attended the Conference. I ask if you can please spend 5 minutes in providing us some feedback, we have an opportunity to reflect upon some of the highlights of this year’s conference and to lay down the challenge for the FRSA Conference Reference Committee and the FRSA team to make next year’s conference even better.
And, lastly but most importantly, thank you! Thank you to the sector, our delegates, our partners, sponsors and exhibitors - thank you! Without your ongoing support our Conferences would not be nearly as successful.
FRSA is proud to launch this second e-journal of peer reviewed papers from the annual FRSA National Conference.
This e-Journal expands on the FRSA 2017 National Conference theme Connecting the dots, creating wellbeing for all. Collectively, the six papers explore creative ways we can strengthen wellbeing across the family life course by connecting sectors and disciplines as well as formal and informal services and supports.
The FRSA 2017 Board election cycle is now complete and FRSA is delighted to welcome two new board Members, Glenda Devlin, Head of Strategy and Service Development, Anglicare Sydney and Serge Sardo, CEO of Family Mediation and Counselling (FMC) and a re-election of 2 current Board Members, Dr Deborah Hartman, Assistant Director of the Family Action Centre (FAC) at the University of Newcastle and Marie Morrison, CEO of Relationships Australia Queensland.
FRSA is fortunate to have a diverse group of members who have the expertise and the desire to help FRSA achieve their goals. The entire FRSA Board is committed to supporting and representing the needs and interests of children, families and communities Australia-wide.
FRSA Board Members
Michael Austin (Chair)
Dr Deborah Hartman (Deputy Chair)
Marie Morrison (Treasurer)
Judge Matthew Myers (Co-Opted)
In welcoming the new Board Members, FRSA has also had to farewell two others, Karen Field and Fiona Harley OAM. FRSA would like to extend our most sincere thanks to them for their continuous hard work, perseverance and support in their roles within the board. Their critical level of insight into issues and projects of FRSA will be missed, and FRSA wishes you all the best for the future. They were formally farewelled at the FRSA 2017 AGM.
Karen will continue to support FRSA's Research Advisory Committee as a Co-Opted Member.
The Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, opened tranche two on 22 November 2017; it will close on 28 September 2018.
During this period, the Department of Social Services (DSS) will be accepting submissions of new and innovative policy responses that help improve the lives of vulnerable Australians and help them break from welfare dependency.
These responses need to address the barriers to work among four priority groups:
Newstart recipients aged 50 years and over
Migrants and refugees on a working age income support payment
Working age carers on Carer Payment
At risk young people on income support.
This tranche will also welcome ideas to support other groups proposed (and appropriately justified) by applicants.
The first information session will be held in Sydney, Friday 8 December, 2017. All other sessions will be rolled out to other capital cities and regional centres - sign up to the DSS newsletter here for further information.
Final sitting marks the end of the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sat on 14 December to publicly mark the conclusion of the five-year long inquiry. The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented at the National Library of Australia with Message to Australia.
The book is a collation of personal messages written by those who shared their story in private session. The final proceedings will be streamed live to the public via webcast on the Royal Commission's website.
The Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP, announced this week that Dr Gary Johns has been appointed as ACNC Commissioner for a term of five years.
An Adjunct Professor at the Queensland University of Technology Business School, Dr Johns has served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, and has wide-ranging experience in regulation, public service and policy. He has also served as an Associate Commissioner of the Productivity Commission, and represented the electorate of Petrie in the Federal Government from 1987 to 1996.
Mission Australia releases Annual Youth Survey results
Mission Australia's Youth Survey 2017 has revealed, for the first time in the survey's history that young people identified mental health as the most important issue in Australia today. Concerns about mental health have doubled since 2015 and tripled since 2011. Other top issues of national concern included alcohol and drugs and equity and discrimination.
"The Family Matters Report 2017 – launched at Parliament House on 29 November – reveals a shocking trend in the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are now nearly 10 times as likely to be removed from their family as non-Indigenous children – a disparity which continues to grow."
Key statistics from the Family Matters Report 2017 include:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.8 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.
Projected out-of-home care population growth suggests the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than triple by 2036.
From 2010 to 2018, the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in child death statistics has grown from a rate ratio of 1.84 to 2.23.
Only 67 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia are placed with family, kin, or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers.
Only 2 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children commenced an intensive family support service in 2015-16, a rate well below their rate of contact with child protection services.
Only 17 per cent of overall child protection funding is invested in support services for children and their families.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are significantly less likely to access antenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Be Connected is an Australian government initiative committed to increasing the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians. Be Connected aims to empower everyone to use the internet and everyday technology to thrive in our digital world.
Through the Be Connected online resources, Australians will be able to learn the basics of using digital devices and engaging with the internet, including:
being safer while online
talking to or seeing family and friends who live far away
finding new friends who share interests and hobbies
connecting with old friends
keeping up to date with what’s happening in communities and around the world
AIFS 2018 Conference - Call for Abstracts extended!
What’s working, or not working, for families now? Can we imagine a future where 'what matters most to families' drives the work of researchers, policy-makers and service providers? Discuss these questions and more at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) 2018 Conference, to be held from 25–27 July in Melbourne.