CFC FP Forum in Glenelg

Communities for Children conference at the Stamford Grand on Thursday 7th of March 2024. Photo : Naomi Jellicoe

My sincere congratulations to the CFC FP Forum working group members – Sue Christophers, Liana Harding, Amanda Hunt, Camillla Krauze, Stacey Milbourne, Clare Moynihan and Karen Russell on the great event you pulled together last week in Glenelg, SA.  Well done team!  The CfC FP network conversation is always full of energy and enthusiasm and I was privileged to be part of the event.   I know that Robyn Clough and Lisa Curtis from my office also found the time spent with network members of significant value to our ongoing work in promoting our network’s services – especially when it comes to the place-based program space and the beneficial impacts for children, families and communities.  And we look forward to continuing the conversation at the FRSA Conference.

The FRSA Conference registrations are going gangbusters and I am going to be bold and predict this Conference is going to be our biggest ever!  I know that accommodation at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park has sold out but being in Melbourne we are spoilt for accommodation options and will keep adding our suggestions to the website as they become available.  Early bird registration rates close at midnight tonight!

In the last fortnight I also had a chance to visit a former Chair of FRSA, Mr Michael Austin at his agency base at CatholicCare Wollongong.  This visit has been in the planning for a while – embarrassingly dating back to pre-COVID in fact.  So, it was really good to meet up with Michael and his senior executive team and also sit down for more in-depth conversations with key staff in the children, young people and families services program areas.

On a somber note, I was very sad to learn that Mr Barry Williams OAM – who was the founder and President of the Lone Fathers Association passed away on the 23rd of last month.  I wasn’t able to attend his funeral but I was pleased his work was acknowledged by Deputy Secretary of the Social Security Stream at DSS, Mr Matt Flavel during his Chairing of the Child Support Stakeholder Consultation Group meeting that I attended yesterday.  This was a consultation group that Barry was very much involved in having established and his legacy will live on.  Having been a single dad himself in the 1970’s – he did make it his life’s mission to advocate for single fathers, their children and their families.  I only came to know Barry in the last few years and always valued our frank and very honest conversations.  I was also struck by the heavy personal burden he carried in providing support to separated men with suicidal ideation.  In recent years, Barry’s mobile phone operated pretty much 24/7 and for some men in their deepest, darkest hours – Barry was there for them.  Vale Barry.  (Dads4Kids have a lovely tribute to Barry).

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