FRSA eBulletin, No. 5, 2024

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No. 5, 2024 | 4 April 2024

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From FRSA's Executive Director

Dear eBulletin readers,

I hope you had a lovely Easter break!  For us in the ACT (traditional lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri Peoples) the break was brief but welcomed.  I took the advantage of the extra-long weekend to gather with family and friends and relish in the last remnants that summer was offering up.

I know when I am out and about and/or meeting with members I have been saying that most of the programs and services that FRSA has a particular connection to – the FaC Activity programs in DSS and the FRSP programs in AGD – are under review.  And – we are at a fairly climatic point where those are concerned.  In addition, we know that SNAICC is out and about consulting on the Child and Family Investment Strategy and that Families Australia is undertaking a particular project “Changing the Balance” looking at how a proportionate transfer of services to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations will impact on mainstream organisations.  All of these have delivery dates of 30 June 2024 – which is not that far away.   FRSA is also actively engaged in the conversations about broader community sector reform through the Community Sector Advisory Group as well as a range of other bespoke/targeted consultation processes being conducted by DSS and AGD.  It is fair to say that the workload in that area is heavy at present but we are working hard to ensure that we keep across all the issues and update the FRSA membership and readers of the E-bulletin with any new and/or relevant news.  We will continue to do this.

The FRSA Conference is about 5 weeks away and we can’t wait.  While it does require dedication and a whole lot of commitment to bring the Conference to you with such a small team – we love it!  It is great to bring the network together, to meet and engage with so many people and importantly, learn so much.  The Conference is such a great opportunity to showcase the work of the sector.  If you haven’t registered yet – you still have time.  I do note that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bursary program closed last Friday and we are delighted that we are able to support two people from the network to attend the Conference by providing them a complimentary registration and $500 towards their travel and accommodation costs.

In addition to the Conference and the role of the program in highlighting the work of the sector – I do just want to remind readers that we also have a special feature in the eBulletin dedicated to our members.  This edition, we have a special feature on Harmony Day and it is always so great to see the sector embrace these celebratory days in the calendar year. If you are a member – one of the benefits of that membership is our ‘Member News’ section.  So – if you have new and exciting news to share please remember to put our Communications Officer, Vanessa Lam – on your list of ‘go to’ people to get the news out there.  We not only feature it here but also aim to push it out via social media channels wherever we can.  Vanessa can be reached at communications@frsa.org.au or her mobile is 0413016211.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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REGISTER TODAY!

Don’t miss out on the highlight event for the Family and Relationship Services network, the FRSA National Conference 2024! Register today!

Early Bird Registration Fee* Until 15 March 2024

Member Rates Non-Member Rates
Complete Conference Experience – Including dinner $1,295.00 $1,595.00
Conference Only – No dinner $1,220.00 $1,520.00

 

Pre-Conference Workshops – FRSA MEMBERS ONLY

Member Rates
Dadirri – Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Traditions
(Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop)
$175.00
Family Law Workshop $175.00
LGBTIQA+ Family Practice Workshop
Presented by Drummond Street Services
$175.00
Using evidence to paint a picture: Finding opportunities for learning, growth and sharing the success of child and family services
Presented by the Australian Institute of Family Studies
$175.00
Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP) Workshop $175.00

*Please note if not pre-registered for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop you will NOT be able to register or attend on the day – due to limited spaces

Welcome new sponsors!

We’re thrilled to welcome the following sponsors who will join us in Melbourne for this year’s National Conference.

  • CSnet as Lanyard Sponsor and as an Exhibitor
  • Parenting Research Centre as an Exhibitor
  • Emerging Minds as an Exhibitor

There are still a number of sponsorship package options available, designed to maximise visibility to showcase the work and activity of your organisation/business. Or if you are interested in a more bespoke package for your organisation don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FRSA team on (02) 6162 1811 or events@frsa.org.au.

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Close the gap: Voyage to voice, treaty, truth and beyond

The 15th Annual Close the Gap Report, ‘Voyage to Voice, Treaty, Truth and Beyond’ was released in Canberra ahead of National Close the Gap Day. This year’s report explores the role of voice, Truth-telling and Treaty-making post-referendum, examining how communities are continuing to work towards implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The report delivers a set of recommendations providing a pathway towards achieving the National Agreement on Closing the Gap’s goals. Key among these is a call to implement the four Priority Reforms in all jurisdictions, which would include addressing recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s 2024 Closing the Gap review.

‘In their words’: Stakeholder kit for practitioners

ANROWS has released a stakeholder kit for practitioners called, In their words, which comprises six fact sheets based on the findings from the research project ‘Transforming responses to intimate partner and sexual violence: Listening to the voices of victims, perpetrators and services’ or the ‘Voices’ project, which was completed in December 2022.

The Stakeholder Kit will be useful for practitioners and policymakers working in the domestic, family and sexual violence field and the broader social services sector.

The fact sheets present what victims and survivors, and users of violence, said about their experiences of help seeking. The six fact sheets are:

  • What did victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence say about their help-seeking journey?
  • What did people who use intimate partner violence and sexual violence say about their help-seeking journey?
  • What do victims and survivors want from services?
  • What do people who use violence want from services?
  • What do victims and survivors and people who use violence value in services?
  • What do victims and survivors think will help stop the violence?

You can access the Stakeholder Kit here.

2024 Child Social Exclusion Index Report launched

The 2024 Child Social Exclusion Index Report – a collaboration between UnitingCare and University of Canberra researchers – was launched at Parliament House, Canberra on 27 March 2024. Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Assistant Minister for Employment, spoke at the launch.

Child Social Exclusion (CSE) is a multi-dimensional measure of child disadvantage. It extends the concept of child poverty by reflecting the extent to which children lack the opportunities and resources to participate fully in their communities and feel connected.

Key Findings in the report include:

Child Social Exclusion Index

  • The highest prevalence of social exclusion was recorded in Tasmania, with 35 per cent of children in this state in the most excluded quintile.
  • Close to 48 per cent of children living in regional areas lived in the most and second most excluded quintiles, higher than 36 per cent of children living in the greater capital cities.

Child Poverty Versus Social Exclusion 2021

  • One in six (17 per cent) of Australian children aged 0-14 years lived in poverty with Tasmania having the highest rate at 24 per cent.
  • The areas of greatest child poverty were found in South West Sydney, South and West Melbourne, Hobart, and Perth. Areas of high child social exclusion risk were found in Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. Child Social Exclusion Index and child poverty measures therefore do not perfectly overlap.
  • 23 per cent of children were in a social exclusion quintile higher than their poverty quintile and 27 per cent were in a poverty quintile higher than their social exclusion quintile.

Comparison of Child Social Exclusion 2016 and 2021

  • There are 16 per cent of all children where the risk of social exclusion is the highest in 2016 and 2021 (covering 302 small areas), indicating persistence in the local community’s risk of child social exclusion.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, there has been a decline in the proportion of children living in housing stress and in families where no family members completed year 12, a decline in volunteering (possibly due to the COVID pandemic) and a decrease in the ratio of GPs and dentists.

The report and a report summary are available on UnitingCare’s website.

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Cost of Living inquiry – submissions have closed

Submissions to the Senate Select Committee Inquiry on the Cost of living closed on 28 March 2024. FRSA made a short submission to the inquiry and we will make it publicly available as soon as it is accepted by the Committee.

The committee released an interim report in May 2023 and called for further submissions, with a particular interest in solutions that address cost of living pressures.

The committee’s final report is due 31 May 2024.

Changes to National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Amendment Bill 2023, which seeks to improve the National Redress Scheme by reflecting a survivor focus, passed parliament on 20 March 2024.

The changes to the National Redress Scheme that are now law are:

  • allowing applicants to provide additional information when requesting a review of a finalised application
  • reducing the circumstances where applications from those with a serious criminal conviction must undergo a special assessment process
  • removing restrictions preventing incarcerated survivors from lodging an application
  • enabling reassessment of finalised applications if a relevant institution later joins the Scheme (noting that this change will take effect at a later date).

More information is available on the Department of Social Services website and the National Redress Scheme website.

Paid parental leave for 26 weeks approved

Australia’s paid parental leave scheme has officially been expanded to 26 weeks after the government’s first tranche of reforms passed through the Senate on 18 March 2024.

Under the changes, the 20 weeks of paid leave parents can access will be gradually increased by two weeks each year from July 2024 until the 26 week rate is reached by July 2026.

More information on the changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme can be found on the Department of Social Services website.

Inquiry into the recognition of unpaid carers – report tabled

On 27 March, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs tabled the report of its inquiry into the recognition of unpaid carers. The Committee examined the challenges faced by unpaid carers and options for reforming the Carer Recognition Act 2010.

Carers provide 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care each year in Australia, which would cost nearly $80 billion to replace with formal paid care. Carers often sacrifice their careers and retirement plans, education goals, social lives, and health and wellbeing to look after the needs of others, and many do so with little support.

The report makes 22 recommendations to modernise the Act and improve carers’ access to supports, including ways to mitigate the financial disadvantage faced by carers.

The report is available here.

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FRSA Member celebrate Harmony Week

Harmony Week was on 18-24 March. The week is a celebration that recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from all different backgrounds. It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.​

See how FRSA Member celebrated the week below:

  • Communicare’s teams came together to share food and insights about cultures from around the world during the week. They also launched Volume 2 of their ‘Cookbook by Communicare‘. The recipes are from the culinary enthusiasts of Communicare, celebrating the cultural heritage and family favorites across their organization.
  • CatholicCare Tasmania staff gathered at their various locations statewide to celebrate Harmony Day. Sporting orange attire, they embraced its significance of fostering social communication, meaningful dialogues, and mutual respect. Their Multicultural Programs team also celebrated the week at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
  • Centacare Brisbane celebrated with clients at Amelia House Social and Community Hub in Coorparoo.
  • MacKillop Family Services highlighted foster carers Joseph and Eveline Fombasson who have helped children thrive in the loving environment of their home.
  • Anglicare Sydney celebrated with multicultural feasts, vibrant cultural displays including an event in Minto.
  • Lutheran Care encouraged their staff and volunteers to wear a ‘touch of orange’ or clothing that represents cultural heritage and participate in events to celebrate the rich mix of cultures and experiences they bring to the table and shared some their staffs’ own experience. They also shared some photos of staff celebrating from across their workplace.
  • AnglicareNT staff wore orange to celebrated the week.
  • CatholicCare Hunter-Manning’s Refugee Hub’s tutoring program, staff, volunteers, and students celebrated Harmony Week with a number of different activities and an afternoon tea.
  • Anglicare Southern Queensland shared a blog post about their efforts in celebrating cultural diversity.
  • Parkerville Children and Youth Care celebrated Harmony Week at their Child and Parent Centre in Brookman. Families brought cultural dishes to share and were dressed in their national outfits.
  • yourtown recognised their diverse employees and said they bring unique perspective to the yourtown workplace and all of their services.
  • Anglicare WA staff celebrated the week by sharing in some multicultural bites.
  • Family Life cohosted a Harmony Day Morning Tea with Orwil Street Community House.
  • Bundaberg & District Neighbourhood Centre organised the 2024 Belong Fest with Bundaberg Regional Council at Nielson Park Beach foreshore.
  • Anglicare SA held celebrations throughout the week across their sites.
  • Centacare Family Services took part in the Midwest Multicultural Association’s Harmony Festival.
  • CatholicCare NT held a multicultural morning tea for staff.
  • CatholicCare Wollongong’s Before and After School Care Services the kids got imaginative, creative and inclusive to celebrate Harmony Day.
  • Centacare FNQ held a Harmony Day event in Cairns.
  • Odyssey House Victoria held Harmony Day lunches during the week.
  • Uniting Communities held a Harmony Day event including a free BBQ, live music, multicultural choirs and performances, and fun activities for families and children.
  • FamilyCare staff came together for Harmony Day and shared a meal that reflected their cultural origins.
  • Zoe Support Australia celebrated Harmony Day with their playgroup with crafts, songs and dancing.
  • CatholicCare Sydney’s Disability Services celebrated Harmony Day with an inclusive and festive Multicultural Lunch at their centre in Lakemba.
  • PRONIA created a video of their staff sharing messages of unity, understanding and appreciation for the vast amount of cultures that make up the community.
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National Families Week

National Families Week will run from 13 May to 19 May 2024. The theme of National Families Week 2024 is Celebrating Family Diversity & Connections, which recognises that ‘families come in all shapes and sizes and are as diverse as they world around us’.

National Families Week is an initiative of Families Australia  and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. The aim of the Week is to celebrate the vital role that families play in Australian society. National Families Week coincides with the United Nations International Day of Families on 15 May.

No matter where you live – in major cities or a remote community in the country – all Australians, including community organisations, schools, councils, companies and individuals are invited to participate in National Families Week each year. You can now register your National Families Week event.

FRSA holds our National Conference during National Families Week – we look forward to celebrating families with our Conference delegates.

For more information about National Families week see here.

2024 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day theme announced

SNAICC National Voice for our Children has announced the theme for this year’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day as Strong in Culture, Stronger Together.

Each year on 4 August, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities – and all Australians – come together to celebrate the strengths and cultures of First Nations children.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day events will be held around the nation at workplaces, schools and kindergartens or in partnership with a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation or community.  Let SNAICC know how and where you’ll be celebrating Children’s Day this year by registering your event here.

Invitation to Participate - Mental health care for children and young people in out-of-home care project

Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Child Protection Studies is conducting a PhD research project on mental health care for children and young people in OOHC and needs practitioners to test their research and share insights. The project aims to use evidence-based findings to improve mental health outcomes and guide recommendations for OOHC and health departments. If you or your colleagues can spare 45 minutes to share your experiences and contribute to this project, register your interest for participating in an interview. $20 gift cards are available for all interviewees!

Access the project information here and register your interest here

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Thu 25

1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching

July 25 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm AEST
Fri 26

ACT

Case Manager Youth Programs | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region

VIC

Practice Leader – Kids in Focus | Odyssey House Victoria

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) | Mallee Family Care

WA

Coordinator Family Law Services | Anglicare WA

NT

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia Northern Territory

Clinical Lead | headspace | Anglicare NT

Social Emotional Wellbeing Worker (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Designated Role) | Anglicare NT

Financial Counsellor | Anglicare NT

QLD

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

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | CatholicCare Central Queensland

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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Labour Force, Australia | Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

The ABS released the latest estimates of employment, unemployment, underemployment, participation and hours worked from the monthly Labour Force Survey on 21 March 2024. The Labour Force statistics are for the period February 2024.

Making Better Use of Migrants’ Skills | CEDA

This 2024 report continues CEDA’s work exploring how to make Australia’s migration system work better for migrants, employers and the broader community. It focuses on how to improve the employment outcomes of migrants who are already in the country.

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children in out-of-home care | Australian Institute of Family Studies

Children in out-of-home care (OOHC) often experience a higher rate of mental health challenges compared to children who have not been in care. Developed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), these resources provide information about the OOHC system in Australia, the mental health outcomes of children in care, and programs and practice approaches to support children’s mental health and wellbeing in OOHC.

Making ends meet: fostering security and dignity in tough times | Brotherhood of St Laurence

This report examines how the cost-of-living crisis, coupled with the lingering effects of the pandemic, has impacted lower-income households and their economic security.

Over 40 low to middle-income people across Victoria were interviewed as part of the research, with participants then completing detailed financial diaries over a ten-week period.

Amplifying the voices of children and young people in Australian health care | Insight Plus Medical Journal of Australia

This is the second annual Status of women report card. It includes the most recent available data on the social and economic equality issues facing women and girls in Australia, and highlights key data on gender attitudes and stereotypes, gender-based violence, unpaid and paid care, economic equality and security, health, and leadership, representation and decision-making.

User experiences of reporting dating app facilitated sexual violence to dating platforms | Australian Institute of Criminology

The authors of this report argue that implementing appropriate responses to reports of dating app facilitated sexual violence is important not only for supporting victim-survivors to recover from victimisation, but also for ensuring that victim-survivors of these behaviours choose to report again if they are revictimised.

Recognising and strengthening the stories of children in care | Emerging Minds

This practice paper is for practitioners who are working with children in out-of-home care. It examines the importance of identity and history on the mental health of children in care. It provides examples of practices that have supported identity and story development for children who are living in out-of-home care.

New resources for working with fathers | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This suite of resources provides insights into how practitioners and services can support fathers to engage positively with their children, including warmth and responsiveness, and play.

Cruel Summers: Renter Researchers Summer 2024 | Better Renting

From December 2023 through February 2024, Better Renting worked with over 100 renters across Australia to track temperature and humidity in their rental homes. We also learnt about the experiences of these renters through surveys and interviews.

Engage! A strategy to include young people in the decisions we make | Office for Youth

The Australian Government Department of Education has released Engage! A strategy to include young people in the decisions we make. The strategy outlines a new vision for how government can work with young people and sets out three priority areas for youth engagement with the federal government. It also includes 9 measurements for progress that will be reported on every year.

What factors predict long-term mental health for children in out-of-home care? | NSW Department of Communities and Justice

Data from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (PoCLS) in New South Wales were analysed to reveal that children who entered care early in life and with multiple risk factors showed trends towards decreasing mental health over time. However, children who entered care when they were older (7.5 years of age on average) actually showed an improvement in their mental health over time, despite having poorer mental health on entry into care.

Improving our approach to community led prevention | Safe and Equal

This resource brings together lessons from members of the Connecting Communities network and existing evidence on how to embed community-led practices into primary prevention initiatives working with multicultural and faith-based communities.

Strengthening primary health care responses | The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse

The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse has launched three foundational resources for General Practitioners and the Primary Care Workforce as part of the Strengthening Primary Health Care Responses to Sexual Violence and Child Sexual Abuse project.

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