FRSA eBulletin, No. 15, 2022

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No. 15, 2022 | 10 November 2022

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From FRSA's Executive Director

As I noted in the FRSA Preliminary Budget Analysis on Budget night – on 25 October – the Federal Budget focused on delivering on the Government’s Election Commitments.  The Albanese Government had certainly been very clear in the lead up that was where the October Budget’s focus would be.  Therefore, as a sector, we were fortunate to receive news in the Federal Budget that the Government would be committing $560.0 million over 4 years, from this financial year, to support Community Sector Organisation in need of funding supplementation due to additional staff wages pressures and higher inflation outcomes.  How this will directly support the FRS sector, how much of an increase will be applied to programs under the Department of Social Services (DSS) Families and Children’s Activity and to Family Law Services funded by the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), who will be eligible, how and when it will be distributed are as yet unknown.  We are regularly checking in with our AGD and DSS colleagues for updated advice and we will bring them to the attention of our Members as soon as we can.

Today, the FRSA Chair, Ms Glenda Devlin announced the FRSA Board has engaged the Centre for International Economics (CIE) to undertake a Cost Benefit Analysis of the Family and Relationship Services sector.  The CIE will be modelling the social and economic benefits of the DSS and AGD services and programs delivered by the FRS sector and we anticipate a final report at the end of the first quarter next year.  Whilst we anticipate this report will clearly articulate the value of the Family and Relationship Services sector, we also hope there are aspects of this work that we can contribute towards the Treasurer’s own thinking about a ‘measuring what matters’ framework being attached to future Federal budgets. (See Section 4 of Budget Paper 2).

Last week, I did have the opportunity to attend the NPC address delivered by the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth speaking to the National Framework for Reducing Violence against Women and their Children.  It is a bold ambition to aim to end violence in a generation, but it is important to have these sorts of goals and targets to aspire to.  I was also delighted to bump into and reconnect with the newly appointed inaugural Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner, Ms Michaela Cronin, who in the mix of her strong career history in the social services sector was formerly the CEO of Mackillop Family Services, a Member Organisation of FRSA.

We are a hive of activity here at FRSA as we prepare to welcome our members to Canberra for our first Strategic Leadership Forum since before COVID.  If you are a Member and haven’t registered yet – it is not too late.  In addition, we have the FRSA AGM being held on Wednesday 23 November during which we will announce the results of the 2022 FRSA Board Election process.  That is closing tomorrow.  So, for any FRSA full members who have not voted yet – you still have time.

Preparations for the FRSA National Conference 2023 are well underway and our call for abstracts will open next week. If you haven’t subscribed to FRSA’s Conference email updates, click here to sign up.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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Federal Budget October 2022

On 25 October the Albanese Government handed down its first Budget and FRSA staff worked into the wee hours of the morning to deliver the FRSA Member Preliminary Analysis.

As noted in Jackie Brady’s intro, the October Budget was always promised to be limited to the new Government’s election commitments and this is where it landed. The Federal Budget contained some significant commitments towards housing (thank goodness!), infrastructure, paid parental leave, childcare rebates, women’s safety – this is promising but regrettably it does not deliver much in the way of financial support and relief for so many children, families and communities doing it tough.

With Anti-Poverty Week held in the week before the Federal Budget there was a plethora of evidence and information released about the significant levels of poverty in Australia and the very real cost of living pressures people are facing. Many of these people are accessing the services of our Member Organisations and the Budget did feel like a missed opportunity for this Labor Government to take a stand and address poverty or at least stem its escalation. It is early days for a new Government, however. We remain hopeful that in the lead up to the next Budget in 2023, the Government will look seriously at opportunities to raise revenue to ensure a decent standard of living for all children, adults and families.

In what we cautiously describe as good news, the Government did commit $560 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to provide funding supplementation to community sector organisations to help meet increased staff wages costs and higher inflation outcomes. Detailed information on this measure is not provided in the Budget Papers or the Portfolio Budget Statements. Our latest intelligence advises that the matter is with the Department of Finance who are busily preparing guidelines for the relevant departments.

All Budget papers, including Portfolio Budget Statements, are available on the Budget website.

Additional Children's Contact Services providers

The Attorney-General’s Department has announced the list of providers who were successful in securing grant funding in the additional Children’s Contact Services grant round and the Statistical Area 4 Locations they will be operating in. Congratulations to all successful organisations. See the full list of new providers below:

Provider Statistical Area 4 Location
Better Place Australia Latrobe – Gippsland, VIC
CatholicCare Victoria Tasmania Hume, VIC
Save the Children Australia Northern Territory – Outback, NT
Western Australia – Outback (North), WA
Anglicare SA Adelaide – North, SA
Mallee Family Care North West, VIC
Lutheran Church of Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory Barossa – Yorke – Mid North, SA
EACH Melbourne – Outer East, VIC
Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Queensland – Outback, QLD
Better Together Community Support Cairns, QLD
Interrelate Riverina, NSW
Gold Coast, QLD
Sydney – North Sydney and Hornsby NSW
Hunter Valley exc Newcastle, NSW
Sydney – South West, NSW
CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes Far West and Orana, NSW
Relationships Australia Queensland Wide Bay, QLD
Comm Unity Plus Services Melbourne – North West, VIC
Relationships Australia Western Australia Perth – North East, WA
Armidale Family Support Service New England and North West, NSW
Compliance with and Enforcement of Family Law Parenting Orders: Final report

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) have released their final research report on Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders.

This mixed-method project was designed to examine the drivers of non-compliance with parenting orders and the operation of the parenting order enforcement regime in Australia. This report sets out findings from contravention matter court file analysis, an online survey of separated parents with parenting orders, and an analysis of international approaches.

The research highlighted the role that negative interpersonal dynamics, including family violence and safety concerns, play in difficulties with the implementation of parenting orders. These difficulties can be compounded by limitations in identifying, assessing and responding to risks in the family law system.

AIFS are hosting a webinar on 30 November 2022 with lead AIFS researchers, Dr Rae Kaspiew and Dr Rachel Carson and ANROWS Director of Evidence to Action, Michele Robinson to discuss:

  • findings from the report about the operation of the contravention regime in Division 13A Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
  • the National Contravention List, a new initiative in the court to streamline the management of contravention applications
  • practice insights from a relationship sector practitioner who works with families in relation to parenting orders.

Click here to register for the webinar

Emerging Minds Families project

Emerging Minds have launched a new suite of resources that have been developed to meet the needs of parents and families looking for information and support regarding infant and child mental health.

The Emerging Minds Families Project’s resources have been designed for practitioners to share and use with the parents and families they work with, or for parents and families to access directly.

Developed in collaboration with family members with lived experience, practitioners and using the latest research, Emerging Minds Families offers practical, accessible and evidence-based information including videos, factsheets, animations and podcasts. The resources are available for free and are intended to improve the mental health outcomes of infants and children in Australia.

Emerging Minds Families has over 70 new resources and includes a range of topics which will grow over time, such as:

  • Supporting parents and families living with mental illness
  • Responding to and managing the impact of natural disasters including floods, bushfire and drought
  • Understanding and managing anxiety in children and young people
  • Infant mental health and wellbeing
  • Videos on specific types of professionals and how they can support families (e.g. GPs, social workers, speech pathologists and more); and
  • Child and youth co-design projects.
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Inaugural Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner appointed

The Albanese Labor Government has announced Micaela Cronin as the inaugural Domestic, Family, and Sexual Violence Commissioner.

Following an open and competitive process, Ms Cronin commenced in the role on November 1.

Australia is one of only three countries to have a national domestic violence commissioner. Ms Cronin comes to the role following a distinguished career as an experienced CEO and graduate from Harvard Business School. She is passionate about prevention, early intervention, response and recovery from gender-based violence and will be responsible for measuring the success of the recently released National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said Ms Cronin’s appointment was critical to achieving the goal of ending gender-based violence within one generation.

Ms Cronin was formerly CEO of MacKillop Family Services, a member organisation of FRSA.

Universal paid leave for family and domestic violence

More than 11 million Australian workers will soon have access to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave. The Albanese Labor Government has delivered on its election promise to legislate this landmark change that will save lives.

The Government has said they are committed to providing the leadership and the investment to help end family, domestic and sexual violence. Paid family and domestic violence leave is an important part of that commitment. It is a long overdue change that will give workers the means to escape violent situations without risking their financial security.

The new workplace entitlement will commence on 1 February 2023 for most employees.

Small businesses will have an extra six months to adjust to the change, meaning the start date for those employees will be August 1 next year.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said the leave will apply to all employees in Australia, including casuals. Read more.

Inquiry on Workforce Australia Employment Services including ParentsNext

The House Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services was established by a resolution of appointment that passed the House of Representatives on 2 August 2022.

On 16 September 2022, the Committee resolved to include pre-employment and complementary programs within the scope of its inquiry, and to specifically consider the role of ParentsNext in providing early intervention services to disadvantaged parents as part of the employment services system. These matters fall within the Committee’s existing Terms of Reference.

The Committee undertook to make any recommendations on ParentsNext in an interim report before the end of February 2023. Submissions relating to ParentsNext close 30 November 2022.

The Committee will separately call for submissions on Workforce Australia and the employment services system more broadly in due course, and will publish guidance material to assist submitters. The committee is due to deliver its final report no later than 29 September 2023. You can find more information here.

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CSS NSW/ACT Annual Member’s Forum
Jackie with CSS NSW/ACT Inc Chair, Mr Michael Austin, CEO of CatholicCare Wollongong (far left) and CSS NSW/ACT’s Executive Director Mr Michael Coffey

On 2-3 November Catholic Social Services NSW/ACT held its Annual Member Forum.

The event was held across two days and two venues in the Sydney CBD, firstly at the Grace Hotel and then at the Jubilee Room at NSW Parliament House.

FRSA’s Executive Director, Jackie Brady, was a speaker at the event on Day 1 where she spoke about family and relationships services within the Federal context – post Budget and under a new ALP led government.  Jackie followed on from Dr Angela Jackson, Lead Economist, Impact Economics who gave an insight into the current economic outlook and what she believes will be vital issues for the services and the people the network works with.  Dr Sandie Cornish, Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at the Australian Catholic University also addressed the group.

Relationships Australia Webinar: Relationship Indicators returns for 2022

Relationships Australia is pleased to announce the return of their nationally representative survey into the state of relationships in Australia.

Relationship Indicators 2022 explores the enormous effect the pandemic, rising cost of living and other challenges have had on relationships and generates a variety of indicators which can be measured again to understand how relationships change across time. Relationship Indicators 2022 demonstrates the integral role relationships play across the lifespan, affecting wellbeing, loneliness, safety and more, also exploring the help-seeking behaviours people employ to address relationship issues.

To celebrate the release of Relationship Indicators 2022, Relationships Australia is hosting a webinar. The webinar will cover key findings, recommendations, and avenues for future research. The webinar will be held on November 15, 4pm-5pm (AEST) – you can register your interest here.

MacKillop Family Services win at the Resilience Australia Awards

Congratulations to MacKillop Family Services’ Seasons for Growth team who were awarded the Resilient Australia Mental Health & Wellbeing NSW Award at the Resilience Australia Awards 2022 last month.

The award recognises the team’s work in making communities in NSW more resilient and improving the mental health and wellbeing of communities before, during and after a disaster.

The Resilient Australia Awards is a national program celebrating and promoting initiatives that build whole-of-community resilience to disasters and emergencies around Australia. The awards program recognises a wide range of initiatives centred on risk assessment and mitigation, mental health and wellbeing, education, training and research, and community engagement, as well as response and recovery.

New survey finds rising living costs adding to educational challenges for children

The Smith Family has released findings of a national survey of almost 2,000 parents and carers whose children are supported by the organisation. The Smith Family Pulse Survey revealed the extent of the fallout from cost-of-living increases on children’s education, with many families finding it harder to afford school essentials and rising costs adding to the significant educational challenges already faced by children experiencing disadvantage.

Among the key findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds of parents and carers (62%) have found it harder to afford all the things their children need for school this year compared to last year, with more than half of respondents (52.1%) saying this was due to increases in everyday expenses such as groceries, rent and petrol. Nearly a third (32%) are finding their children need more things, or more expensive things, for school, while just under a third (29.9%) have found the cost of school items has increased.
  • More than one-third of respondents (38.1%) said that school has been hard or very hard for their children this year, with the most cited reasons related to issues at school, such as struggling academically, motivation for school and social challenges (e.g. fitting in at school, bullying). The disruption caused by COVID, disability and medical issues, and financial pressures were also frequently cited.

The Smith Family’s CEO Doug Taylor said the challenges expressed by parents highlight the agonising decisions families are having to make as to where they spend their dollars each week, which can have devastating impacts on children’s ability to learn and thrive in their education.

“Families have faced one hit after another in recent years, and cost-of-living pressures are taking an immense toll, particularly for those who were already struggling,” Mr Taylor said. “The worry is that these added pressures at home, on top of the challenges children might be facing in their learning at school, can increase their risk of falling behind or disengaging from school altogether.”

Read the full survey results here.

BaptistCare opens housing site at Coraki
BaptistCare staff visiting the Coraki site with Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Flood Recovery, Steph Cooke

BaptistCare has welcomed the first residents of a new temporary housing site at Coraki in the Northern Rivers, offering a safe, secure home for up to 240 people who experienced months of uncertainty after devastating floods in the region earlier this year.

The housing is located directly next to BaptistCare’s aged care home Mid Richmond Centre and has been delivered in partnership with the NSW Government and Resilience NSW. Read more.

New mental health support for people with matters in the family law courts in Victoria

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) has partnered with Victoria Legal Aid and other contracted service providers to deliver mental health supports at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia circuit locations in Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura and Morwell during circuit sittings; and at permanent registries in Melbourne and Dandenong on a full-time basis.

The service is an expansion of Victoria Legal Aid’s Family Advocacy and Support Services, which include integrated duty lawyer services and holistic social supports.

Dr Andrew Bickerdike, RAV CEO, said that RAV welcomed the opportunity to provide mental health supports for people navigating the family law system.

‘We know that family law, family violence and mental health issues often intersect, and that a significant proportion of clients need support across all these areas,’ Dr Bickerdike said.  Read more.

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Are you living with disability and identify as being cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD)?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) wants to hear from people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds on ways to improve the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

People interested should sign up to Participant First. Participant First share opportunities to participate in focus groups, survey and interviews.

Some feedback opportunities are also paid.

For more information go to https://ndis.gov.au/community/have-your-say/participant-first-help-improve-ndis

Needs & Impact Survey

You are invited to participate in the AIFS-CFCA Needs and Impact Survey 2022.

If you have used practice resources produced by the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) team at AIFS or attended one of their webinars over the past 12 months, they want to hear from you!

Let them know what resources you have previously used, and what you need to help support your work with children, families and communities.

The survey takes five minutes to complete and closes Monday, 12 December 2022. Click here to complete the survey.

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Feb 20

Theraplay Level 1 & MIM – Sydney

February 20, 2023 @ 9:00 am - February 23, 2023 @ 5:00 pm AEDT
Feb 23

HEY WARRIOR!

February 23, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm AEDT
Mar 13

HEY WARRIOR! – Toowoomba

March 13, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
Mar 20

ECO-ANXIETY

March 20, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
Mar 21

ECO-ANXIETY – Kingscliff NSW

March 21, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm AEDT

NT

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia NT

Counsellor (Family and Relationship Services) | Relationships Australia NT

Manager Counselling – Family and Relationship Services | Relationships Australia NT

VIC

Family Relationship Counsellor – Child Practitioner | Relationship Matters

Senior Counsellor | Relationships Australia Victoria

Family Safety Practitioner – Sunshine | Relationships Australia Victoria

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner x 2 | Relationships Australia Victoria

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner – Outreach | Relationships Australia Victoria

Assistant Manager – Melbourne | Relationships Australia Victoria

QLD

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | CatholicCare Social Services

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) – Rockhampton | Relationships Australia Queensland

NSW

Senior Program Manager – Adoption and Guardianship | Anglicare Sydney

Couple and Family Counsellor | 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 communications@frsa.org.au. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.

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Are charities beyond the crisis? | SVA Quarterly

Prepared by Social Ventures Australia and the Centre for Social Impact, this fifth instalment of the Partners in Recovery series highlights the importance of government and philanthropy funding the full costs of charity service delivery to meet demand and support a healthy sector.

Advancing digital inclusion in low income Australian families: interim findings report | Digital Media Research Centre

The Advancing digital inclusion in low income Australian families research project is running 2021-2024. The investigation explores the complex relationship between digital and social inclusion, and social infrastructure’s role (education facilities, charities, government services) in supporting low income families in six diverse communities. This report outlines the key findings from this research at the halfway point of the project.

‘Can’t afford to live’: The impact of the rising cost of living on Victorians and Tasmanians on low incomes | Centre for Social Impact, Uniting Victoria and Tasmania

This report provides evidence that the rising cost of living is deepening financial, housing and food insecurity, and impacting mental and physical health, while also increasing social isolation.

Co-designing the foundations for a client outcomes framework for specialist family violence services | Safe and Equal

This report comes from the first stage of development of a client outcomes framework for specialist family violence services. The report can be used as a starting point for the development of related frameworks in the future.

Aged care employment: study report | Productivity Commission

It is widely recognised that there are major problems in the quality of aged care, especially in residential aged care. This report looks at whether there should be a policy to preference the direct employment of aged care workers.

Australians’ well-being and resilience during COVID-19 | Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies

This report presents the findings of a national survey of Australians 16 years and over, conducted in November 2020, to examine Australians’ well-being and resilience within the COVID-19 pandemic context, and the factors that promoted and hindered their well-being and resilience.

Truth is, the abuse never stopped | Barnardos Australia

This report shares insights from adult victim survivors who experienced domestic and family violence in their childhood or youth, on the support they received at the time.

Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020-21 | Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report presents statistics on the clients of specialist homelessness services, including their needs, characteristics and service use.

Homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 in New South Wales | Parliament of New South Wales

While traditional stereotypes of people who experience homelessness persist, it is increasingly older people, particularly older women, who are the ‘face’ of homelessness of NSW today. This inquiry has found that the shortfall in both social and affordable housing is exacerbated by statewide housing shortages and is the single greatest challenge for people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness in NSW.

 

Balancing work and family life during the COVID-19 pandemic: who fared better and worse? | ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

People with care responsibilities for other family members, such as ageing relatives, relatives with a disability or chronic illness, or grandchildren, have been much less studied during the recent pandemic. This report aims to fill this gap in research by exploring the circumstances of mature Australians (aged 45 and above) who had care responsibilities during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children’s participation in child protection—How do practitioners understand children’s participation in practice? | Charles Darwin University and the Australian Catholic University

A new study has found that children should be more involved and have a voice when making decisions about their protection.

Researchers conducted in depth interviews with 18 child protection practitioners to determine how they understood participation in the process.

The results, published in Child & Family Social Work, showed that most practitioners understood participation but found it difficult to implement. While other practitioners interviewed discussed participation as child-focused decision-making but did not refer to the child’s involvement in the process.

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