No. 18, 2021 | 29 October 2021
From FRSA's Executive Director
It’s Children’s Week – a week set aside annually to celebrate the right of children to enjoy childhood.
In many ways, it seems such a simple thing – ‘enjoyment’, the state of feeling pleasure and satisfaction. Children’s enjoyment can be irrepressible and infectious. I think of the countless times over the years of being a parent, that I have been filled with ‘joy’ watching the faces of my three children light up as they embrace the experiences life offers them.
Of course, life can never be a continuous flow of joy and wonder and our children must learn how to traverse the mundane, the difficult and the painful. But as a young person leaves childhood, what a legacy for them to be able to say, ‘on balance I enjoyed my childhood’.
There are some fundamental precursors to children’s enjoyment, the important physical basics like enough food and a secure home, feeling safe physically and emotionally, and being ‘held’. We know that for many children in Australia one or more of these foundational elements is lacking.
It was Anti-Poverty week last week (more below) and current figures show that there are 2.65 million adults and children in Australia living below the poverty line. How difficult it must be for children to experience unfettered joy when they sense the ongoing struggle that their parents/carers are facing? I add my voice to the growing number in Australia who are saying that In a country with as much wealth as ours, this is a terrible indictment of our society. More can and should be done and there can be no denying that many of the levers to bring about change rests with the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, had significant impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of many young people across the country. As one of our Melbourne based members reflected to me during the heart of yet another lockdown for Victoria: ‘how can our young people have hope for the future, when their parents are struggling to see a time beyond lockdown?’ I sincerely hope that as restrictions continue to ease for Victoria and NSW, some hope is restored, and enjoyment can be found again. Members have observed that counselling and support for children has been particularly difficult during lockdown with many children hard to engage via online service delivery. As things are opening up, demand for face-to-face services for children is – or is anticipated to – rapidly escalate. Now, more than ever, our children and young people need our support so that they can rightfully feel joy again.
A reminder that FRSA’s Annual General meeting, which is being held virtually this year, is scheduled for Friday 19 November at midday (AEDT). Members will have received their Notice of AGM but If you have not received your notice and would like to attend, please be in touch with Narelle Kay at the National Office (02) 6162 1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRSA Executive Director
Anglicare Australia launches Jobs Availability Snapshot: Jobseekers being left behind again
Anglicare Australia has released their annual report Jobs Availability Snapshot, which endeavours to capture the labour market for jobseekers who face the greatest barriers to employment. This includes jobseekers who may not have qualifications, experience or who live in regional and remote areas in Australia. Although the unemployment rate has decreased, unemployment among jobseekers facing the greatest barriers has not changed.
The report found that in Australia:
- 27 jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job
- 1/10 of these jobseekers have barriers to work
- These jobseekers spend an average of 5 years looking for work
The Jobs Availability Snapshot highlights the shortcomings of the mutual obligation system and emphasises the need for more entry-level opportunities to help support those facing barriers in finding employment.
New National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
The Federal Government has formally announced a new National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, committing $22.5 million in funding over five years. The announcement has resulted from key recommendations following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse and coincides with the third anniversary of the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
The Blue Knot Foundation, The Healing Foundation, and the Australian Childhood Foundation have been selected to establish and deliver the new National Centre which will aim to support improved responses to victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, focus on prevention, increase community awareness, reduce stigma and commission critical research.
The National Centre is expected to be established by the end of 2021.
Foodbank Hunger Report 2021
Foodbank has released their 2021 Hunger Report which provides a snapshot of the prevalence and depth of the issue of food insecurity, as well as insights into the day-to-day experience of people living with this fundamental vulnerability.
The report was informed by a national survey conducted between 1 and 28 July 2021 involving more than 2,877 Australians representing the population, more than 1,000 of whom had experienced food insecurity at some point in the last 12 months.
- One in six Australian adults haven’t had enough to eat in the last year
- 1.2 million children have gone hungry in the last year
- Uncertain access to food affects Australians from all walks of life
- One in three people struggling to meet their food needs are new to the situation
- Two in five people seeking food relief do not get enough for their household’s needs
- More than half of people impacted by severe food insecurity go a whole day every week without eating
- 64% of food insecure Australians have a job
Anti-Poverty Week 2021
Anti-Poverty Week (17-23 October) has shined light on the continuing prevalence of poverty and inequality that exists in Australia. Currently, over 2.65 million adults and children in Australia are struggling to survive on income payments that are below the poverty line. Anti-Poverty Week 2021 has focused its efforts on two key areas that will help reduce the rates of poverty, calling on the government to take action. The key areas for action include, raising the income rate above the poverty line and investing in social housing.
Unfortunately, many sole parents and carers are disproportionately affected by poverty. A report released during Anti-Poverty Week by the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney poverty and Inequality Partnership showed that people on income payments, including sole parents, are being left behind by Australia’s welfare system.
Moreover, in their fourth Kinship Care Forum held on 20 October, PeakCare Queensland stressed the importance of including grandparents who act as informal kinship carers into the conversation. Many grandparents in informal kinship care roles face poverty as they use their life and superannuation savings to care for their grandchildren who would otherwise fall into the child protection system. Although the exact figure is unknown, it is estimated that there are 100,000 carers in this position in Australia.
Find out more about Anti-Poverty Week here.
National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse
The Government has launched the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (2021-2030), a 10 year whole-of-nation framework.
The strategy was developed in partnership with state and territory governments and in consultation with hundreds of stakeholders, including victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, children and young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people with disability and their advocates. The first phase of the National Strategy will be driven by two, four-year action plans:
- the First National Action Plan, which will be delivered by Commonwealth, state and territory governments in a coordinated and consistent approach
- the First Commonwealth Action Plan, which will be primarily delivered by Commonwealth agencies.
An independent Indigenous expert group has been formed to co-design a new program to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child sexual abuse survivors and their families, as part of the strategy.
One of the initiatives, Supporting Healing for Families, will support place-based, Indigenous-led healing approaches to strengthen families and improve wellbeing. While the second will deliver a suite of trauma-aware, healing-informed and culturally appropriate resources to frontline health workers so the needs of Indigenous Australians seeking help are better tailored for, both in person and via telehealth conversations.
The Healing Foundation’s CEO Fiona Cornforth and Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, will co-chair the Indigenous Expert Group. And will be joined by experts from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will complete the expert group.
FRSA National Conference 2022 - CALL FOR ABSTRACTS CLOSE NEXT WEEK!
Only a few more days left to submit your abstract to the FRSA National Conference 2022 next year in Adelaide on 16-19 May 2022. Abstract submissions close COB Monday 1 November 2021.
The theme for the Conference – Together we can: Connect, Innovate, Transform – captures the spirit, resilience and adaptivity of the family and relationship services sector
As social service organisations we are always at the cutting edge of emerging trends and changes in society – for the Family and Relationship Services Sector, especially for vulnerable children, families and communities.
This last year and a half demonstrated the sector’s ability to adapt and respond like never before. The FRSA Conference presents a great opportunity for you to showcase the work that you do. We welcome abstracts that touch on how Together we can: Connect, Innovate, Transform to achieve better outcomes for Australian children, families and communities. This includes how we can better use technology, be more innovative, build our workforce capacity, and measure and increase our service delivery success. Together, we will also explore new collaborative ways practitioners, policy-makers and researchers can work together, including by taking a more coordinated prevention and early intervention public health approach. FRSA welcomes abstracts reflecting on the theme.
For more information, or to submit your Abstract, please visit the FRSA National Conference website
Stay up to date by subscribing to our Conference and Forum Updates.
FRSA Webinar: Family and relationship service providers’ experience of telepractice during COVID-19
FRSA is excited to launch our latest commissioned report, Family and relationship service providers’ experience of telepractice during COVID-19 at a webinar on Wednesday, 10 November 2021 at 12:00pm – 12:45pm (AEDT).
Due to COVID-19 and numerous nation-wide lockdowns, there was a rapid transition to using telepractice as a primary service delivery method in Australia – including Family and Relationship Services. Family & Relationship Services Australia wanted to capture the experience of service providers and through them, the children, men, women and communities they worked with during this time. FRSA commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to conduct research drawing from the experience of FRSA members.
The webinar will discuss the findings of this research, which explored the benefits, disadvantages, barriers, enablers and most appropriate uses of telepractice within the family and relationship services sector and considers implications for future practice.
- Dr Robyn Clough, Manager of Policy and Research, FRSA
- Dr Trina Hinkley, Research Fellow, Knowledge Translation & Impact Lab, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Facilitated by Jackie Brady, Executive Director, FRSA
Public consultation on Family Report Writers opens
The Attorney-General’s Department opened its consultation on ‘Improving the competency and accountability of family report writers’ on 22 October. The consultation close on 3 December 2021.
Family report writers play an essential role in family law parenting matters before the family law courts. They also play an important role in obtaining and representing children’s views to the court.
However, reports and public inquiries have raised concerns about the quality of family reports and some of the professionals involved in preparing the reports.
The Australian Government agreed in principle with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendation 53, that the Attorney-General’s Department should develop a mandatory national accreditation scheme for private family report writers on the basis that it supports ensuring professionals in the family law system are appropriately qualified, trained and accountable.
The Department’s consultation paper – Improving the competency and accountability of family report writers – and further information on the consultation are available online.
Appointments to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
On 15 October 2021, the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced the following appointments as judges to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA):
Division 1 (formerly the Family Court of Australia):
- Judge Penelope Kari – appointed to the Adelaide Registry
- Judge Grant Riethmuller – appointed to the Parramatta Registry
- Judge Michael Jarrett – appointed to the Brisbane Registry
- Mr Peter Campton SC – appointed to the Sydney Registry
- Ms Suzanne Christie SC – appointed to the Sydney Registry
Division 2 (formerly the Federal Circuit Court):
- Ms Julie Kearney – appointed to the Newcastle Registry
- Ms Caroline Jenkins – appointed to the Adelaide Registry
- Ms Samantha Murdoch – appointed to the Parramatta Registry
- Ms Vivien Carty – appointed to the Newcastle Registry
- Mr John McGinn – appointed to the Adelaide Registry
- Ms Sophie Given – appointed to the Sydney Registry
To find out more about the work of the court visit the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
FRSA member commemorate Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week was on 17-23 October 2021. The week focused on calling on the governments to unlock poverty for individuals, families, and children by raising income support above the poverty line and investing in social housing. This is how FRSA members commemorated the week:
- AnglicareWA shared key findings in our latest survey showing continued support in WA for a higher rate of JobSeeker payments. Read more.
- YFS CEO Cath Bartolo released a video talking about the impacts of the housing crisis in Logan. Watch here.
- Centrecare Inc Director Tony Pietropiccolo AM contributed to the Missing Out Matters: Child Poverty in Western Australia report produced by the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA. Read the full report.
- ac.care held a three course luncheon with more than 40 clients from their Limestone Coast Homelessness service to launch Anti-Poverty week. Watch.
- Uniting Country SA are holding a Community Afternoon tea today to raise community awareness about poverty and services that their Low Income Support Services and Gambling Help Services teams offer. Read more.
- The Smith Family shared an article about child poverty in Australia and how it impacts education. Read more.
2022 Impact 25 Awards
Nominations for Probono’s 2022 Impact 25 Awards are closing soon.
You can nominate up to two individuals that you believe should be recognised for their positive impact (including yourself).
The Impact 25 Awards were developed to create a platform to celebrate these people who embody the values of the social sector as Influencers, Collaborators and Innovators.
In these challenging times, never have those qualities been more important and these awards are an invitation to recognise them.
Nominations close 3rd November. Find out more at impact25.probonoaustralia.com.au
Team Leader – Counselling | Relationship Australia NSW
Specialist Lead – Counselling | CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay
2x Counsellors – Couple, Family and Child (Sunshine) | Relationships Australia Victoria
Independent Chairperson – headspace Wonthaggi Consortium | Relationships Australia Victoria
Family Safety Counsellor | Relationship Matters
Community Services Outcomes Tree: an introduction | Centre for Social Impact
This resource explains the Community Services Outcomes Tree, which has been designed for the community sector.
Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of women in Australia | Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised significant concerns for the safety of women in the context of a coalescence of risk factors and stressors for intimate partner violence (IPV). The aim of this research was to better understand women’s experiences of IPV since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measuring Australia’s digital divide: the Australian digital inclusion index 2021 | RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, Telstra
The Australian Digital Inclusion Index uses survey data to measure digital inclusion across three dimensions of access, affordability and digital ability. The research explores how these dimensions vary across the country and across different social groups. The 2021 Australian Digital Inclusion Index marks the first year of reporting using Australian Internet Usage Survey data.
Not-for-profits’ guide to complying with Commonwealth electoral laws | Human Rights Law Centre
With the next federal election not far away, charities and community groups are thinking about what advocacy they want to do. Under Commonwealth electoral laws, some advocacy spending and donations may need to be publicly disclosed, and your organisation may need to consider adjustments in how you use or track donations. This guide is designed to step you through your obligations under these laws.
Insights from the first six months of JobKeeper | Government of Australia
This report presents the Australian Treasury’s analysis on the first six months of the JobKeeper payment (to 27 September 2020), reflecting on the design and initial impacts of JobKeeper as a key element of the federal government’s macroeconomic response to COVID-19.
New vulnerable research | Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
Good Shepherd commissioned Roy Morgan to help us better understand the Newly Vulnerable and their experiences navigating support systems. The findings have confirmed what we had suspected. Rather than declining, the Newly Vulnerable cohort increased in 2021 at a similar rate to what we had seen in 2020.
Which families are feeling the pinch of the pandemic the most? | Melbourne Institute
The unprecedented disruption to family income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting children’s opportunities during a crucial time in their health and development.
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