FRSA eBulletin, No. 2, 2023

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No. 2, 2023 | 2 March 2023

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From FRSA's Executive Director

It has been nearly two weeks since the National Early Years Summit which was held in Canberra on 17 February at Parliament House.  The Summit gathered together over a 100 people actively engaged in the shared objective of plotting the path forward to give every child the opportunity to the best start to life and a chance to achieve their goals and dreams.

This is of course a driving force for all in the Family and Relationship Services sector and it was a privilege to be able to represent you there.

L-R: The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Sam Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia and Jackie Brady, FRSA Executive Director at the National Early Years Strategy Summit

The National Early Years Strategy is an Australian Government election commitment with the Summit a key feature in developing that Strategy.  Reflecting on that event, what was very clear was the strong political will for a National Early Year Strategy.  This was reflected in the messages as presented by the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services and Hon Dr Anne Aly MP, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth who remained in the room – actively engaged and involved – for the duration of the day.

As noted, the Summit was spearheading a much broader process of engagement underway by Government.  There are a range of roundtables being held around Australia over the coming weeks and months to continue to plot the path forward.  In addition, there is the Early Years Strategy – Discussion Paper and responses to that Discussion Paper will be accepted until 30 April 2023.  We look forward to adding our voice to that process and will be going out to members shortly to start our own internal consultation process.

The Summit also marked the last day that Ms Liz Hefren-Webb held the role of Deputy Secretary at the Department of Social Services.  She has moved over to Prime Minister and Cabinet to head up the Social Policy section in that Department. It was good to see her at the Summit, to thank her for her oversight of the Families and Children Activity (and broader social policy agenda) whilst at DSS and congratulate her on her appointment to PM & C.  Ms Letitia Hope (formerly Deputy CEO Policy and Programs at the National Indigenous Australia Agency) will take up the Deputy Secretary role in DSS from the 6th of March.  We look forward to meeting with her.

I am also excited to release to you the FRSA Conference concurrent session program.  We really have been spoilt for choice and have assembled an amazing program for delegates when they attend the FRSA Conference on the Gold Coast from 15-19 May 2023.  Registrations are open with the Early bird rate closing on the 14th of March.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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The wait is over! The program for FRSA National Conference 2023 is live! This year’s program focuses on the theme “Services within everyone’s reach: Choice, Connection, Collaboration” and the three day event will deliver the knowledge, insights as we continue to face uncertainty.

We have 65 half hour sessions and five 90 minute symposiums. This year we received another record number of abstract submissions, with the standard of abstracts for this year’s conference extremely high. We have been working hard to ensure the program captures the expectations of FRSA Conference attendees. We have also left plenty of time for networking and we are putting the final touches to our Conference Gala Dinner that will certainly deliver a memorable experience on the Gold Coast.

Keynote speakers and panelists will be confirmed in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Click below to view or download the PDF program. Click on the session titles for more details.

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS TILL EARLY BIRD REGISTRATIONS CLOSE!

Don’t miss out on early bird registration rates, which ends in less than two weeks on 14 March 2023.

Early Bird Registration Fee* Until 14 March 2023

Member Rates Non-Member Rates
Complete Conference Experience – Including dinner $995.00 $1,295.00
Conference Only – No dinner $920.00 $1,220.00

* To be entitled to the early bird registration fee you must have registered and paid by 15 March 2023.

Pre-Conference Workshops – FRSA MEMBERS ONLY

Member Rates
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop $175.00
Family Law Workshop (All Day) $175.00
Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP) Workshop $175.00
Australian Institute of Family Studies (Half Day Workshops – AM or PM) $130.00
Welcome Conference Sponsors!

FRSA is delighted to welcome the following organisations as sponsors for the National Conference 2023.

  • Interrelate as a Gold Sponsor
  • Drummond Street Services as a Silver Sponsor
  • Mallee Family Care as the Conference App Sponsor
  • AnglicareWA as the Family Law Pre-Conference Workshop Sponsor
  • CSNet as an Exhibitor and Lanyard Sponsor
  • Community Data Solutions as an Exhibitor
  • Global Training & Professional Development as an Exhibitor
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies as a Reciprocal Sponsor

If you are interested in sponsoring the Conference view our range of sponsorship packages in our prospectus or get in touch with the FRSA team on (02) 6162 1811 or events@frsa.org.au.

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Government announces extension to CaPS and BBF Programs

On 20 February 2023, the Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, announced the three-year extension of the Children and Parenting Support (CaPS) and Budget Based Funded (BBF) programs from 1 July 2023 to end June 2026.

This is welcome news, with these programs providing important supports and connections to families around the country.

Over the next three years, the Government will evaluate the way these programs work and engage in consultation with the community to make sure these services and support continue to achieve the best outcomes for children and families.

As part of this extension, all BBF services will be rolled into the CaPS program, to enable better aligned support coordination and administration across the programs. This change will be administrative and will not impact service delivery to children and families.

Elder Abuse Statistics in Queensland: Year in Review 2021-22

The Elder Abuse Statistics in Queensland:  Year in Review 2021–22 report has been released.  The report is based on anonymous data collected from calls made to the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit in Queensland.

Some of the key findings include:

  • A 15.6% increase in calls to the EAPU Helpline compared with previous year
  • A total of 2,338 abuse notification calls received in 2021-2022
  • Women, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were overrepresented as victims of elder abuse.
  • The most common types of abuse reported were psychological (76.6%), financial (62.1%), and social abuse (27.8%).
  • In close to two-thirds of cases (65.5%), victims and perpetrators were living together. Victim and perpetrator cohabitation has increased sharply over the past four financial years.

 Short survey underway

The researchers are looking to substantially reduce the scope of content in future editions of the report and want to ensure that they include only the most valuable data. To help guide their decisions, please take the time to complete a brief feedback survey.

The survey should only take around 5 minutes and will close on 17 March 2023.

Agreement reached on reform of charitable fundraising laws

The Federal Government is moving to install consistent fundraising rules across all states and territories, after an agreement was reached between the Commonwealth, state and territory Treasurers late last year.

Consistent fundraising regulations could save the charity sector up to $1 million a month in compliance administration costs.

The principles, developed by a Working Group comprising of all states and territories, was informed by stakeholder consultation last year. The principles will give charities and donors a clear understanding of appropriate conduct, while allowing for greater flexibility as to how charities achieve compliance. Regulatory guidance to support the principles will also be developed in collaboration with the charitable fundraising sector. Each participating jurisdiction will release an implementation plan by July 2023 explaining how it will give effect to the principles through regulatory changes or legislation.

Current fundraising laws were developed when fundraising was primarily done in-person, but with online mediums now being the primary channel of contact, the cost of complexity of complying with varying requirements is a major issue.

Read the full list of proposed National Fundraising Principles.

Australian Study – household mental health doorknock

The ACDC (Assisting Communities through Direct Connection) project, run by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, knocked on about 37,500 doors across the country to kickstart conversations about mental health and encourage people to access support services.

Of the doors answered, 46% of householders had a conversation with an ACDC People Connector and 68.9% completed a follow-up survey, giving participants the chance to anonymously share their experiences with mental health and accessing support.

Evaluation of the project by the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia shows that 49.4% of respondents reported being in moderate to very high distress, and 36.7% of respondents said they needed more support.

Concerningly, nearly half (43.2%) of respondents who had wanted to seek help in the last year were unable to get the support they needed.

Read more about the Evaluation findings here.

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Media Release: FRSA welcomes funding support for essential family and relationship services

Read FRSA’s latest media release welcoming the Federal Government’s additional funding support to the family and relationship services (FRS) sector which will benefit from the supplementary funding for 2022-23 currently being rolled out to service providers.

“This funding will help maintain skilled family and relationship services workers who help deliver vital services to vulnerable children, families, and communities around Australia,” said FRSA Executive Director, Jackie Brady.

“This comes at a crucial time for organisations who are facing increasing costs including staff wages pressures and the impact of higher, and increasing, inflation rates.”

Read the full media release

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Consultation – Rights of Children and Young People in Australia’s Family Law System - EXTENDED

The Family Law Council‘s survey consulting on the rights of children and young people in Australia’s Family Law System closing date has been extended.

The online survey is being conducted to help the Council identify areas of improvement in Australia’s family law system regarding the rights of children and young people. The new closing date is 12 March 2023.

Click here to complete the survey.

The survey will help the Family Law Council to understand:

  • The extent to which the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Whether or not particular parts of the family law system manage the participation of children and young people effectively.
  • What, if any, changes would improve the way the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people?
FRSA submission on draft Family Law Amendment Bill 2023

FRSA’s submission to the consultation on the Exposure Draft – Family Law Amendment Bill 2023, which closed on Monday 27 February, is now available on our website. We are grateful to those Members who participated on an advisory group at short notice and generously shared their insights.

The draft legislation aims to foreground the best interests of children and make the Family Law Act simpler and safer for separating families.

The Bill responds to some of the recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) 2019 Final Report No. 135: Family Law for the Future – An Inquiry into the Family Law System. It also implements elements of the Government Response to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System.

The exposure draft and related information is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website.

Early Years Strategy – public consultation

The Australian Government is developing an Early Years Strategy to shape its vision for the future of Australia’s children and their families.

The Strategy will help the Commonwealth create a more integrated, holistic approach to the early years and better support the education, wellbeing and development of Australia’s children. It will seek to support improving coordination between Commonwealth programs, funding and frameworks impacting early childhood development.

Public submissions are now open and a Discussion Paper has been released. Submissions close on 30 April 2023.

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BaptistCare to acquire three aged care sites, six services

In late January BaptistCare NSW & ACT announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire three aged care sites located in the Central West of NSW and South West Sydney.

The acquired locations are Kintyre Living Retirement Village and Lodge in Dubbo, Blue Hills Retirement Village and Manor in Prestons and Durham Green Retirement Village, Manor and Lodge in Menangle. Each location has a retirement village and aged care home and will complement BaptistCare’s existing presence in these regions.

The three sites are owned and operated by Tulich Family Communities and comprise 251 residential aged care beds and 410 independent living units, with just over 240 staff providing care and services to 650 residents.

BaptistCare is offering employment to all existing staff and will take over the operation of the three sites during late March. Read more.

Kids First launch learning platform launched as Consent Education becomes mandatory

Kids First Australia have launched an online consent education learning platform has been launched for students. The online platform called, To Future Me, was co-designed with young people and draws upon the organisation’s decades of sexual abuse prevention work. It is designed to guide students through four e-learning modules, which feature a range of downloadable resources.

Co-designed with over 100 young people, and tested by students and teachers, the To Future Me program is aligned with the Respective Relationships National Curriculum.

Development of the platform was initially supported by Westpac’s Safer Children, Safer Communities grant, with additional support from the bank received to expand the program.  The grant will be used to create two new products, aimed at teachers and parents to help them feel confident about having direct conversations with students participating in the To Future Me program. 

To Future Me is for Year 8 students and features accessible and inclusive content delivered through purpose-designed videos and quizzes across four self-guided modules. Modules provide students with help-seeking skills and a framework to understand consent. The platform also covers the topic of grooming and what it may look like, as well as exploring gender and sexual identities.

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National Volunteer Week 2023

Volunteering Australia has announced the theme for National Volunteer Week 2023 is The Change Makers.

Held on 15 – 21 May 2023, National Volunteer Week is an annual event celebrated right across Australia. The week-long event recognises the vital support that the millions of volunteers in our country provide to their communities and encourages people to consider volunteering.

National Volunteer Week 2023 is a celebration of our power to drive change and ensure volunteering is inclusive of all members of the Australian community.

Consultation now open - Safe Places Emergency Accommodation Inclusion Round

A discussion paper for the Safe Places Emergency Accommodation Program Inclusion Round (the Inclusion Round) is now open for comment. The Department of Social Services is seeking input to inform the design of the Inclusion Round.

Family and domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for women and children.

On 3 November 2022, the Australian Government announced $100 million over 5 years (2022-23 to 2026-27) for the Inclusion Round as part of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2023. The Inclusion Round will increase the number of new and appropriate emergency accommodation places for women and children leaving family and domestic violence.

The Inclusion Round will focus on improving access to appropriate emergency accommodation for:

  • First Nations women and children
  • Women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and
  • Women and children with disability.

Your feedback will inform the building, purchase or renovation of new emergency accommodation for women and children leaving family and domestic violence.

Read the discussion paper at: www.engage.dss.gov.au

Submissions close 10 March 2023. For more information, visit: www.dss.gov.au/ending-violence

Evaluation of the Children’s Contact Service Activity

Australian Institute of Family Studies has been commissioned by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department to undertake an Evaluation of the Children’s Contact Service (CCS) Activity.

The evaluation will make an assessment of the extent to which:

  • Children’s Contact Services are:
    • operating in accordance with and achieving the objectives in the relevant guiding documents (including the Grant Opportunity Guidelines and the Guiding Principles Framework for Good Practice)
    • providing services that are culturally appropriate and supporting families experiencing domestic and family violence
  • the current number and locational positioning of Children’s Contact Services meet existing demand for services.

If you work in the management, operation or provision of Children’s Contact Services (CCSs) or are a professional who refers clients to these services, AIFS invites you to share your views and experiences on the operation of CCSs.

The survey closes 29 March 2023. Click here to complete the survey.

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is on 8 March 2023. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, the theme aims to get the world talking about why “equal opportunities are no longer enough.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

Find out how to get involved and download resources here.

R U OK? in Multicultural Communities

R U OK? is inviting multicultural communities to tell us what is helpful for them, when having these conversations. They are asking members of these communities to share feedback on our current resources and help us design new resources for the future. For example, how can R U OK? support people in your multicultural community talk about mental health in a way that is comfortable for them?

Complete the expression of interest form here

National Closing the Gap Day

For more than a decade now, Australians from every corner of the country, in schools, businesses and community groups, have shown their support for Close the Gap by marking National Close the Gap Day on the third Thursday in March each year. This year, National Close the Gap Day is on 16 March 2023.

The aim is to bring people together to share information and take meaningful action in support of achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples by 2032.

The Close the Gap Campaign’s 2023 Report will also be launched on the day, “ Strong Culture, Strong Youth: Our Legacy, Our Future”, highlighting the vital role of culture in achieving positive long-term health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
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Fri 31

Online workshop: Supporting Separated Families

May 31 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm AEST
Jun 11

AIFS Conference 2024

June 11 - June 14
Jun 12

Identifying Gaslighting eWorkshop 12th-June-2024

June 12 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm AEST

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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National strategy for volunteering 2023-2033 | Volunteering Australia

Following a rigorous and inspiring 12-month co-design journey, Australia has a new shared agenda for a reimagined future for volunteering. This strategy document, co-created by stakeholders from across the volunteering ecosystem, provides a blueprint for the next ten years that will enable volunteering in Australia to thrive.

Engaging children with disability in supported decision making | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This short article outlines what supported decision making is, why children with disability can and should be engaged as decision makers, and the evidence about using supported decision making to support them towards exercising this right.

Australian jobs 2022 | Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

This publication provides an overview of trends in the Australian labour market to support job seekers, employment service providers, career practitioners, those considering future training and people interested in labour market issues.

Closing the Gap implementation plan 2023 | Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations

The Coalition of Peaks’ Closing the Gap implementation plan 2023 sets out the work the Coalition of Peaks will undertake to progress and accelerate implementation of the National Agreement.

The Early Years Strategy: discussion paper | Department of Social Services

Developing the Early Years Strategy is an opportunity to have a national conversation about what Australians want for young children and their families, and where the government should direct their efforts to achieve these aspirations. This discussion paper supports the submission process and includes questions to guide submissions.

I believe you: children and young people’s experiences of seeking help, securing help and navigating the family violence system | Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

This report presents the findings from 17 in-depth interviews conducted with Victorian children and young people, from the ages of 10 to 25, with lived experience of family violence. The research seeks to give voice to the experiences and expertise of children and young people who have experienced family violence and have navigated a range of different services and supports across the whole of Victoria’s family violence response system.

Who uses domestic, family, and sexual violence, how, and why? | Queensland University of Technology

This report provides a focused examination of violence perpetration, in order to enhance national efforts to end domestic, family and sexual violence.

Domestic Violence Disclosure Schemes: policy overview | Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

This overview examines Domestic Violence Disclosure Schemes, including what they are, and where they have been debated across Australia and New Zealand.

Child and family hubs: an important ‘front door’ for equitable support for families across Australia | National Child and Family Hubs Network

In this paper, the authors explore what is meant by a child and family hub and identify core components that underpin the delivery of these hubs that have emerged from Australian and international research. This paper also introduces the newly established National Child and Family Hubs Network, which creates an opportunity for collaborative learning and sustainable and effective child and family hubs practice. The network offers the opportunity to consider how hubs can become important ‘front doors’ to drive equitable access and quality service delivery across Australia.

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Please note FRSA members receive priority for items posted in the eBulletin. And to keep information current, relevant and useful, submissions will not be repeated from week to week.

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