FRSA eBulletin, No. 3, 2022

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No. 3, 2022 | 10 March 2022

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From FRSA's Executive Director

It has been a challenging few weeks as severe flooding in Australia’s east has devastated communities and taken lives. I am always struck how, in times of crisis, the human capacity for empathy and the impulse to connect come to the fore. Amidst the images of rampant waters, partially submerged buildings, chaos and destruction came images of strangers sharing food, stranded on a bridge ‘island’. Images of neighbours rescuing neighbour after neighbour in their dinghies. Images of volunteers beginning the long hard clean-up.

I am also struck by how critical the drivers of community and connection are in our formal political and social systems. When our political system focuses on the individual at the expense of communities and connection, the social will and social supports to get people through crises can be lacking. As Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS wryly noted, “There’s no way we can crowdfund our way out of these disasters, the Government needs to step up…”. Some real wins have been made in the past few days due to persistent advocacy from the social services sector – additional disaster relief payments for example. But I do fear that once again the social services sector, including FRSA members, will be left to bear the weight as people recover from the economic and emotional costs of this disaster. My thoughts are with all those impacted by the floods, and I extend my heartfelt thanks for the incredible work that FRSA members and others in the sector do day in, day out.

International Women’s Day was celebrated this week on 8 March with the theme – #BreakTheBias. It was wonderful to see members celebrating the achievements of women. Here at FRSA, with our small team of four women, it does feel that when we band together, we can achieve an awful lot! Of course, there is so much to be done here in Australia and around the world to ensure true equality for women.

One of our big achievements this year will be the FRSA National Conference coming up in May. We are so excited to be joining with members and friends face-to-face! A reminder that early bird rates end tomorrow (11 March). We hope to see you there.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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Community Services Ministers’ meeting and the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children

Community Services Ministers last met on 16 February and released their Communiqué on the 18th.

Ministers discussed progress to date on the development of the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and General Action Plans for Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031 (Safe and Supported: the National Framework). Ministers discussed the common themes arising from stakeholder consultations to date and provided their in-principle agreement to progress a number of initial actions.

This includes actions relating to the exercise of authority in child protection by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and providers, and agreeing a national approach for a sustainable and skilled children and families services workforce.

Ministers discussed the next steps for agreeing the initial actions in March 2022, including considering jurisdictional process, and committed to finalising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan and the General Action Plan as soon as possible.

Safe and Supported: the National Framework was released in late 2021. The two five-year action plans will describe actions and outcomes across four focus areas:

  1. a national approach to early intervention and targeted support for children and families experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage
  2. addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems
  3. improving information sharing, data development and analysis
  4. strengthening the child and family sector and workforce capability.

The National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing (of which FRSA is a member), which is administered by Families Australia, is playing a critical role in the development of the General Action Plan through the National Coalition Steering Group.

Covid, inequality and poverty in 2020 & 2021

The latest report from ACOSS and UNSW, Covid, inequality and poverty in 2020 & 2021: How poverty and inequality were reduced in the COVID recession and increased during the recovery examines how people at different income levels fared during those two phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

During the first wave of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Supplement and JobKeeper support payments played a crucial role in reducing both income inequality and poverty during the deepest recession in 90 years. Despite an effective unemployment rate of 17% at the time, many people on the lowest incomes could afford to pay their rent and household bills and feed themselves properly for the first time in years.

When lockdowns eased in late 2020, the Government reduced financial supports. By April 2021 both the Coronavirus Supplement and JobKeeper payments were gone, leaving a yawning gap in pandemic income supports for about a million people still unemployed, when Delta struck later that year.

80% of people on the lowest income support payment were excluded from the COVID Disaster Payment, introduced in September 2021. The report found that the number of people in poverty rose by around 20% and a bias in jobs growth towards high paid jobs and a rapid rise in investment incomes lifted income inequality.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations supporting children and families

Yesterday SNAICC – National Voice for our Children launched 11 profiles showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations who are successfully working with children and families to prevent them from coming into contact with the child protection system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children remain overrepresented in the system – they are 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care.

Each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisation has developed their own unique approach to working with children and families that is built on cultural safety and connection to community. This ensures that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families get the support they need to learn, grow, succeed, and avoid coming into contact with child protection services.

The 11 profiles can be viewed on the SNAICC website.

FRSA National Conference 2022 - EARLY BIRD CLOSES THIS WEEK!
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The FRSA National Conference 2022 will be one of the first major opportunities for practitioners to come together as a network and swap stories in person. The three day event aims to deliver the knowledge, insights and the unique learnings and adaption brought from the COVID-19 pandemic experience over the last two years.

Early Bird rates end this Friday, 11 March 2022. Don’t miss out and register with our early bird rates today!

Stay up to date on Conference news by subscribing to our Conference and Forum Updates.

Sponsorship has always been a big part of FRSA’s Conferences and in acknowledgement of this support, we still have a great range of package available for our 2022 Conference which we have designed to allow for maximum visibility to showcase the work and activity of your organisation/business. It will enable you to engage, discuss challenges and present solutions to FRSA Conference delegates.

We welcome your support of the Conference and hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities available to you in joining with FRSA as a Conference 2022 sponsor.

If you are interested in a more bespoke package for your organisation, outside what is outlined in our Sponsorship Prospectus, do not hesitate to get in touch with the FRSA team at admin@frsa.org.au or on (02) 6162 1811.

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Investment in family, domestic and sexual violence announced

On 6 March, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, the Hon Marise Payne and the Hon Stuart Robert announced an investment of $189 million over five years to strengthen prevention and early intervention efforts in family, domestic and sexual violence. This is an initial investment under the First Action Plan 2022-2027, for the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032

The investment includes:

  • $104 million over five years for the leading primary prevention organisation Our Watch, representing about a 65 per cent increase on annualised funding
  • $48 million for a new campaign that focuses on confronting the attitudes and expectations of some men which can condone or excuse violence
  • $32 million for a consent campaign focusing on young people 12 and older and their parents, building on $10.7 million already allocated in the 2021-22 Budget for this campaign
  • $5 million to develop a survey of secondary school-age students on issues related to consent.
ARC Centre of Excellence to support children and families

The Government Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced $32 million in funding over seven years to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre), which is  led by Professor Janeen Baxter at The University of Queensland.

The Centre of Excellence will conduct world-leading research to investigate new ways of tackling social and economic disadvantage, and to better support Australian children and families.

The Life Course Centre was established in 2014 and take a life course approach to tracking and understanding the experiences of Australians facing disadvantage in their daily lives, and to better equipping them to overcome them.  The life course approach enables investigation of how life trajectories are influenced by factors such as inherited disadvantage and the institutional systems governing how we live and work.

The Life Course Centre is administered by the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland (lead node) and has nodes at The University of Western Australia, The University of Melbourne, and The University of Sydney. The Centre collaborates with researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders nationally and internationally.

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International Women's Day

Yesterday was International Women’s Day (8 March). It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year’s theme was #BreakTheBias and aimed to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. Check out FRSA members all around the country striking the IWD 2022 pose.

As well as a video of Anglicare Southern Queensland asking their staff their thoughts on International Women’s Day below:

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Carers Australia welcomes new CEO
Alison Brook

Carers Australia has announced the appointment of Alison Brook as Chief Executive Officer for the national peak body organisation, effective 8 May 2022.

Alison is the current CEO of Relationships Australia Canberra and Region.  Prior to that role, she was the National Executive Officer for Relationships Australia for nine years.  During that time she worked advocating for the eight state and territory federation members, with Commonwealth funders and parliamentarians.

We wish Alison all the very best as CEO of Carers Australia.  She will be missed from the network but look forward to our paths continuing to cross.

Read more.

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Skills for working in community services

With every industry experiencing some level of disruption due to the pandemic, the skills needs of many sectors has significantly evolved. SkillsIQ wants to hear directly from the community sector about the emerging skills needed to deliver quality services.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.  The survey closes on Thursday, 31 March 2022. Click here to complete the survey.

Have your say on Doing Nothing Does Harm

Our Watch invites people who work in the prevention of violence against women to  complete a short survey on its Doing Nothing Does Harm campaign.

The campaign aims to help Australians (aged 25-44 years) to understand the different ways they can take bystander action during instances of sexism and disrespect towards women, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the campaign to help our evaluation.

You don’t need to have already seen the campaign to participate in the survey. The survey should take about ten minutes to complete, and closes on 31 March 2022.

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 of March each year.

This year’s National Close the Gap Day is on Thursday 17 March 2022. The aim is to bring people together to share information, and most importantly, to take meaningful action in support of achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples.

Get involved and host an activity in your workplace, home, community or school. Find out more via the ANTaR website.

Neighbour Day

Neighbour Day is on Sunday 27 March 2022. This year’s theme is ‘Connecting Communities for 20 years’.

Relationships Australia is inviting everyone to celebrate and continue to build ongoing community connections across Australia to span the next 20 years.

There are many different ways to participate in Neighbour Day, whether it’s big or small – it all contributes to building respectful relationships, sustainable connections and reducing loneliness in our communities.

There are a number of free resources, including ideas to help you create sustainable connections with your neighbours and your community, find out more on the Neighbour Day website.

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Oct 06

Key Skills in Family Therapy – Mackay

October 6 @ 10:00 am - October 7 @ 5:30 pm AEDT
Oct 10

Trust-Based Relational Intervention

October 10 @ 9:00 pm - October 11 @ 4:00 am AEDT
Oct 11

1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching | WEBINAR

October 11 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm AEDT
Oct 11

1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching REFRESHER | WEBINAR

October 11 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm AEDT

NSW

Counsellor (Identified) | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region

NT

Children’s Counsellor | Relationships Australia NT

Counsellor – Disability Royal Commission Counselling & Support Services (Darwin) | Relationships Australia NT

Counsellor – Disability Royal Commission Counselling & Support Services (Alice Springs) | Relationships Australia NT

Counsellor/ Group Facilitator | Relationships Australia NT

VIC

Senior Clinician | Relationships Australia Victoria

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | EACH

Assistant Manager – Open Place Richmond | Relationships Australia Victoria

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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Behind the line: poverty and disadvantage in Australia 2022 | Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre

This report provides the latest examination of the prevalence of poverty within Australia, how this has changed over time, and which groups in society face the greatest risks of financial hardship and material deprivation.

Precarious housing and wellbeing: a multi-dimensional investigation | Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

This research examines how the bi-directional relationship between housing precariousness and wellbeing varies across population subgroups and over time; sheds light on the dimensions of housing precariousness that affect wellbeing, and vice versa; and considers how policy interventions to effectively minimise negative impacts of precarious housing on wellbeing.

Showing the light: Supporting Young Parents with Experience of the Care System | ARACY

This report exploring what it takes to mitigate early parenthood among care leavers as a driver of further contact with the child protection system. As a known cohort, young people in the care system can be targeted for support early, both to prevent early parenthood occurring and to help them parent successfully when it does.

Prevention of financial abuse workshop: summary report | Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

In July 2021, the Office for Women held a virtual workshop on the prevention of financial abuse. The workshop was facilitated by researchers from the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre. This report summarises key points of discussion that emerged throughout the day.

WGEA Review Report | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

This report proposes ten recommendations to accelerate progress on gender equality in workplaces and streamline reporting for employers to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

LGBTIQA+ glossary of common terms | CFCA

This resource sheet provides a glossary of terms for practitioners and service providers to help them better understand LGBTIQA+ terminology and how to use inclusive language in service provision

What should be changed to support young people? | Youth19

This report explores the themes of the Youth19 open-text survey responses for young people who have ever been involved with Oranga Tamariki or Child Youth and Family Services in New Zealand.

Giving voice to the silenced victims: a qualitative study of intimate partner femicide | Australian Institute of Criminology

The aim of the study is to add to the current evidence base around intimate partner femicide (IPF) victimisation by focusing attention on the nature of the relationship and the woman’s attempts at help-seeking, as told by their loved ones.

Responding to women experiencing domestic and family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: exploring experiences and impacts of remote service delivery in Australia | Child and Family Social Work

This journal article offers new insights into how practitioners pivoted their services to respond remotely to women experiencing violence and the challenges of effectively undertaking safety planning and risk assessment without face-to-face contact.

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