No. 12, 2022 | 15 September 2022
From FRSA's Executive Director
Last week was National Child Protection Week (4-10 September), carrying the overarching message that ‘Every Child, in every community, needs a fair go’. In the same week, the Senate announced an inquiry into the extent and nature of poverty in Australia (see below). How can Australian children get a fair go, if their basic, material needs are not being met?
In her keynote address at the launch of National Child Protection Week, the National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds said, “child poverty is well known to be a risk factor connected to many life-long harms.” She went on to say that “urgent cross-portfolio reform is needed across health, education, and social services including housing and income security, to ensure that these basic systems are fit-for-purpose, and can help families to keep their children safe and well.” I can only agree.
It’s a particularly challenging time, with housing shortages and skyrocketing food, fuel and other costs. A growing number of children and families are living in, or on the brink of, poverty.
This year’s upcoming Anti-Poverty Week in October is even calling on Parliamentarians to commit to halve child poverty by 2030. We expect that many FRSA members will be involved in the call to action and will be including what their own clients are experiencing their areas.
As FRSA members talk to us regularly about the multiple challenges their clients are facing and the impacts on child and family wellbeing. One member recently observed that there is no longer a “simple client”. Families are presenting with complex and entwined issues – insecure housing/homelessness, mental health issues, family violence and so on. Crisis support is upstaging the more enduring therapeutic support normally associated with our sector’s early intervention services. Safety planning when working with children is becoming a more routine service response. Poverty and insecure housing play a big role in this. Families and family relationships are invariably adversely impacted by the pressures of poverty.
Lifting children out of poverty isn’t a guarantee that children will ‘grow up safe and supported’ but it is an important precondition. There are many things I hope for – not least an increase in income support payments – to address poverty in Australia. I certainly hope this latest Senate inquiry results in some clear and tangible outcomes that help ensure every child in Australia is able to get a fair go.
FRSA Executive Director
Strategic Leadership Forum 2022 - SAVE THE DATE!
FRSA is excited to again convene our Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF) event in Canberra on 23-24 November 2022.
The two day event is set to bring together organisations from across the sector that are responsible for the delivery of programs that assist Australian families. These organisations work closely with vulnerable clients and provide them with important mental health, child protection, family violence, drug and alcohol support services.
Stay tuned for more details on the event including registration, speakers, accommodation and more.
Please note this is an FRSA Members only event.
Family, domestic and sexual violence: national data landscape 2022
A new report from the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare has summarised the national evidence base for monitoring family, domestic and sexual violence (FDSV) in Australia, highlighting enhancements made over the life of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
The report focuses on key national data and information products that provide the evidence base for monitoring family, domestic and sexual violence in the population, noting enhancements that have been made over the life of the National Plan. The report also describes how the evidence base can be used to measure and monitor family, domestic and sexual violence and highlights information gaps and opportunities for improvements.
Housing crisis spills into regional jobs
A special Impact Economics analysis of five regional economies, Housing Critical: The role of housing in solving critical skill shortages across the regions, commissioned by Everybody’s Home for the recent jobs summit explores the connection between increased rents, low vacancy rates and unfilled job vacancies.
The study examined the Queensland Sunshine Coast, NSW South Coast, Launceston-North East Tasmania, SA Fleurieu Peninsula and Geelong/Surf Coast in Victoria. It finds the shortage of affordable housing in these communities is undermining the capacity of employers to attract staff.
FRSA lunchtime webinar series – first webinar available on our website!
Presenter, Lucy Louca, delivered the first webinar – Social connecting during a socially distancing pandemic – in FRSA’s lunchtime webinar series, on Wednesday 7 September. For those who missed it, a recording is now available on our website.
Lucy is a counsellor with Pronia, a Melbourne-based community services organisation with 50 years’ experience in culturally responsive service delivery to the Greek and broader culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Lucy’s presentation was a poignant reminder of the social isolation many faced during COVID lockdowns and the critical role that community service organisations played in keeping people connected, easing their fears and ensuring our CALD communities were getting correct information in their first languages.
Having spoken about building community connections and service collaboration with a number of practitioners and managers across our sector in Community of Practice forums the week before (more on this below), at FRSA we were struck by one of Pronia’s key learnings – that is, that “collaboration is paramount”. Lucy explained that forming a Cultural Connections Consortium enabled community organisations to secure funding and work successfully to keep a range of communities connected and thriving.
It’s not too late to register for our next two webinars.
- Effective use of Telehealth Delivery in Supporting Children After Separation: Challenges and Solutions | Wednesday 21 September 2022 | 12:30PM-1:00PM AEST | Presenters: Melanie Weinstock & Josette Gardiner, Better Place Australia
- Familial Abuse and Psychosocial Risk Factors in Older People from ATSI and CALD Backgrounds | *NEW DATE* Thursday 29 September 2022 | 12:30PM-1:00PM AEST | Presenter: Anna Gillbard, UnitingCare
Community of Practice forums are underway
In the week beginning 22 August, FRSA facilitated seven online Community of Practice (CoP) discussions across three programs areas – Communities for Children Facilitating Partner, Children and Parenting Support/Budget Based Funding and Family Mental Health Support Services. This week we will run another five discussions for Family and Relationship Services, Specialised Family Violence Services and a Cross-cutting Programs Group. All of these programs sit under the Department of Social Services’ Families and Children Activity.
Interest in the Communities of Practice has been strong, and we are pleased to have close to 200 practitioners and program managers from across the country participating in the CoP Groups.
FRSA sees CoPs as an effective and efficient way to share learnings, build networks and harness the power of the collective to find approaches and solutions to common problems. And as a peak body it is always an enriching experience to learn about the challenges our sector faces and their innovative approaches to meeting these challenges and the changing needs of children, families and communities across the country.
The first round of CoP sessions held in August focused on the topic of building community connections and service collaboration. There are unique challenges across the different programs but also some common themes emerged in discussions including:
- Finding strategies to build trust and form strong partnerships in a competitive funding environment
- The growing complexity of families (e.g. families experiencing family violence, mental health issues, housing insecurity) underpins the need to partner. Partnerships “close some of the gaps.”
The Communities of Practice will run until end June 2023. FRSA is delivering the Communities of Practice with the support of the Australian Institute of Family Studies and funding from the Department of Social Services.
The extent and nature of poverty in Australia – new parliamentary inquiry
On 7 September 2022, the Senate referred an inquiry into the extent and nature of poverty in Australia to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 October 2023.
The terms of reference include:
- the rates and drivers of poverty in Australia
- the relationship between economic conditions (including fiscal policy, rising inflation and cost of living pressures) and poverty
- the impact of poverty on individuals
- the impacts of poverty amongst different demographics and communities
- the relationship between income support payments and poverty
- mechanisms to address and reduce poverty.
Submissions are due by 3 February 2023.
Inquiry into Work and Care – submission deadline extended
The Senate Select Committee on Work and Care has extended the deadline for submissions to its inquiry to 22 September 2022, to encourage organisations across all sectors as well as individuals with a lived experience of balancing work and caring responsibilities to provide evidence.
The recent National Jobs and Skills Summit highlighted the need for fair and productive workplaces, with adequate pay, job security and proper support for those with work and care responsibilities. The Select Committee Chair, Senator Barbara Pocock emphasised the importance of building on the ideas for reform that emerged from the Summit including reducing barriers to carer-friendly workplaces. She also noted that it was important to the committee that it hear from people from all sectors who have work and care responsibilities to gain their insights and views on reform.
From the Parliamentary Library – Voice, Treaty, Truth?
As the Albanese Government looks towards implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, the Parliamentary Library has released a new research paper, Voice, Treaty, Truth? The role of truth-telling in Australian, state and territory governments’ reconciliation processes: a chronology from 2015.
The 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart called for three things: an Indigenous Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, a Makarrata Commission which would oversee a process of agreement-making and a process of truth-telling. This publication considers the role of truth-telling in Australia, looking at how it has manifested across different levels of government both within and outside of formal reconciliation processes since the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The paper notes that while ‘Voice’ and ‘Treaty’ have garnered the most political attention to-date, truth telling is an important and complex step toward structural reform.
FRSA Members celebrate National Child Protection Week
It was National Child Protection Week 2022 last week. The week aimed to engage, educate and empower Australians to understand the complexity of child abuse and neglect and work together to prevent it.
See how FRSA members celebrated the week across the country:
- Relationships Australia Canberra & Region staff signed the commitment to play their part in helping to protect kids.
- Mallee Family Care acknowledged with a Child Protection Principal Practitioners Award.
- ac.care made a video calling for people to join their foster carers network.
- Centrecare held a National Child Protection Week event for staff to learn about practical ways to positively care for and support children.
- Centacare South West NSW staff in Wagga Wagga held a children’s art activity during the week for children to decorate when they visit their offices.
- CatholicCare held a creative competition for children, where entrants are asked to identify what makes them safe.
- CatholicCare Sydney’s Client Safeguarding Specialist, Lo-Shu Wen shared some tips on how as a community we can keep children safe.
- CatholicCare Hunter-Manning shared the designs of local schools and early education centres’ gates in honour of the week.
- Centacare Catholic Family Services shared their new research with the Centre for Social Impact at Flinders University on Breathing Space, an early intervention pilot program for women aged under 25 years who have experienced removal of a child or children from their care.
- Lutheran Care, Uniting Country SA, Baptist Care SA and Centacare Catholic Family Services attended the 2022 SA Child Protection Awards. Uniting Country SA’s Child Aware Approach Team won the Outstanding Service Award – Regional and Natalie Beyer was a finalist for the Outstanding Service Award – Regional. Centacare Catholic Family Services’ Breathing Space was a finalist for the Outstanding Service Award – Non-government organisations.
YFS CEO update
YFS’ CEO Cath Bartolo has announced she is leaving the organisation in February 2023 after more than 20 years. Cath joined YFS as a disability coordinator in 1996, and became CEO in 2002.
“I am proud of how our organisation has matured in that time, fostering a holistic place-based approach to back people to achieve real change in their lives, including integration efforts, service expansion, partnerships and prevention initiatives,” she said.
Next year, she’ll be taking take long service leave to have a break before exploring new challenges. FRSA wishes Cath all the best for the future.
Australian Community Sector Survey
ACOSS has opened their 2022 Australian Community Sector Survey to help the sector advocate for its future, the people it supports and its staff.
The Australian Community Sector Survey is the longest-running survey of the community sector, by the community sector.
Completing the survey is voluntary and takes about 10-15 minutes. It may take a few minutes longer for CEOs and senior managers, who have been asked some extra questions. The survey closes 23 September 2022.
Anti-Poverty Week will be held from the 16-22 October 2022. This year the focus is on calling on Parliamentarians to commit to halve child poverty by 2030. This means we can meet our international commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals).
Grant opportunity: Developing the cultural awareness and trauma responsive skills and capabilities of the child and family sector workforce
The developing the cultural awareness and trauma responsive skills and capabilities of the child and family sector workforce grant opportunity is being provided by the Department of Social Services.
The Government is inviting applications via a restricted process to apply to deliver services under the Developing the cultural awareness and trauma responsive skills and capabilities of the child and family sector workforce grant opportunity from November 2022 to 30 June 2024.
The grant aims to develop the cultural awareness and trauma responsiveness of the child and family sector organisations and workforce engaged through the Department of Social Services’ grants funding (the program). The grant will run over 2 years from 2022–23 to 2023–24 financial years.
The program is funded under Outcome 2: Program 2.2.1: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, and was announced as part of the 2021 Commonwealth Closing the Gap Implementation Plan. This grant opportunity supports Target 12 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
To be eligible to apply, your entity must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- A member of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Our Members – Coalition of Peaks).
- An entity listed on the Cultural Awareness Training or Cultural Competence Training and programs categories of the Supply Nation national directory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses (Supply Nation | Australia’s largest national directory of Indigenous businesses).
Applications are now open and close 5pm AEDT on Thursday 13 October 2022. Find out more via the GrantConnect website.
PhD scholarship opportunity
Relationships Australia, in partnership with the Australian National University, have announced a new PhD scholarship opportunity.
The successful PhD candidate will investigate how to better include the voices of children and young people in the design, delivery, and evaluation of community services. This successful PhD student will be embedded at Relationships Australia Canberra and Region, Deakin office as they work to translate their research into real-world applications.
The scholarship is valued at $21,640 and is open to a prospective or continuing domestic ANU student receiving an approved ANU HDR Base stipend scholarship. Applications close at 10pm AEDT on October 31, 2022.
Community Inclusion Family Survey
Plumtree and the University of Sydney are conducting an online Family Survey about How children with a disability and their families participate in activities in the community in Australia. This might include playing a sport, going for a walk or to the beach, going to an event, going shopping, or eating out. Their priority is to also capture the voice of children with disability and therefore, the survey also includes questions that can be answered with children.
There are 34 questions that will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. Click here to complete the survey.
Grants open to support diverse communities respond to domestic, family and sexual violence in Queensland
The Queensland Government are offering grants of up to $25,000 for community organisations delivering targeted projects in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to respond to domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV).
The grants program aims to create meaningful partnerships and engagement with people from diverse backgrounds to take proactive steps in improving women’s safety, and through awareness and prevention initiatives to address sexual, domestic and family violence.
Applications will remain open until 5pm AEST Friday 14 October 2022.
For more information, and to apply visit: qld.gov.au/safediversegrants
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia NT
Counsellor (Family and Relationship Services) | Relationships Australia NT
Manager Counselling – Family and Relationship Services | Relationships Australia NT
Family Relationship Counsellor – Child Practitioner | Relationship Matters
Family Violence Practitioner and Men’s Case Management – Sunshine | Relationships Australia Victoria
Case Manager | Centacare Catholic Family Services
Counsellor(s) | Relationships Australia NSW
Team Leader Counselling | Relationships Australia NSW
If you have any events you’d like listed on the FRSA Events and Training Calendar or job vacancies you’d like listed on the FRSA Jobs Board, email Communications Officer, Vanessa Lam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.
A life course approach to determining the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Australia | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety
The scale of sexual violence against women and children has likely been underestimated. Until now, research has not extensively examined the prevalence of sexual violence in Australia. This study examined the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, which has captured sexual violence data – from more than 57,000 women – since 1996.
Child Care Subsidy activity test: undermining child development and parental participation | Impact Economics and Policy
This report argues that universal access to early childhood education and care will deliver significant improvements in childhood development, parental participation and productivity, and future productivity of the children that will benefit from greater access.
Online boundaries and consent | eSafety Commission
eSafety’s online boundaries and consent resource for Years 3-6 supports students to learn about consent and setting boundaries online.
This resource is curriculum-aligned and designed to form part of a whole-school approach to respectful relationships. It includes a 20-minute animated video, student worksheet and follow-up activities.
State of the nation in suicide prevention 2022 | Suicide Prevention Australia
This report provides a snapshot of the sector, the state of the community and Australia’s national policy platform. This year’s report reveals that 70% of Australians have experienced elevated distress beyond their normal levels, compared with this time last year.
Closing the Gap: annual data compilation report July 2022 | Productivity Commission
This second annual data compilation report provides a point-in-time snapshot of data for monitoring progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, signed in July 2020.
Adolescent family violence in Australia: a national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety
This report, the first to emerge from a larger project examining adolescent family violence (AFV) in Australia, centres the voices of young people who have used AFV, providing insight that has until now been lacking into how these young people make sense of their use, and in some cases their experiences, of violence in the home.
Elder abuse snapshot series | Australian Institute of Family Studies
Tough times, hard choices | New South Wales Council of Social Service
NCOSS’ annual Cost of living in NSW research investigates cost-of-living pressures for people living below the poverty line and low-income households in New South Wales. The report explores experiences across a range of issues such as housing, employment, income and financial hardship.
The COVID-19 pandemic: second report | New South Wales Ombudsman’s Office
This report follows on from the report published last year entitled 2020 hindsight: the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW Ombudsman’s aim has been to look back on the second year of the pandemic and provide an account of what has been seen, again primarily through the lens of the complaints received from individuals about the actions taken by NSW Government agencies.
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