December 28, 2007 at 11:48 am | Posted in Coming Events | Leave a comment

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas.  Christmas can be both a wonderful and challenging time of year, especially for children in care, their birth families, and the foster carers who look after them.   I would like to extend a hearty thank you to all carers who read this blog – your contribution to the lives of children is immeasurable.

 Now that the big days are over, most of us are recovering from celebrating and usually way too much eating, and the very organised amongst us are contemplating the year ahead.  So here’s something for the organised diarizer:  The Australian Institute of Family Studies is holding a conference in Melbourne fron the 9-11th of July. You can read more about it here.

Enjoy the snow drifting across the screen (no, your monitor is not malfunctioning) – a seasonal extra from WordPress…  🙂


On a more positive note…

December 19, 2007 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection | Leave a comment

This article was posted last night on the ABC News website – the Western Australian government has announced a scheme to financially compensate all children who were abused in foster care, institutional or non-governmental care prior to March 2006.  This is good news indeed.  It shows a government willing to take responsibility and face up to the regrettable incidents of the past.

A matter of judgement

December 19, 2007 at 11:24 am | Posted in Articles, Child Protection | Leave a comment

I feel as though I am only reporting on bad news here lately.   This story is another tragic example of children and sexual abuse, and judiciary decisions that seem to muddy the seriousness of crimes against children.   There is urgent need to educate the judiciary.

Girl, 12, dies in care in Northern Territory

December 13, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Media | Leave a comment

Another sobering article about a child who recently died in care in the Northern Territory.  It highlights the need for ongoing reviews of active carers as well as the potential damage a carer who has an outdated philosophy on child-rearing can cause.

You can read the article on news.com.au by clicking the link below. 


Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

December 12, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment

This article describes some of the challenges involved in caring for children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Despite the difficulties experienced by children and young people with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, it is not recognised as a disability.  And therefore they are unable to access the supports they need.  The carer describes short-term memory loss,  and “fits of rage and depresssion” as just some of the challenges her two “toddlers trapped in teenagers’ bodies” experience.  It sounds as though the carer has battled hard to have the syndrome and its associated difficulties acknowledged and taken seriously. 

Bruce Perry

December 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Media, Resources | Leave a comment

Dr. Bruce Perry was in Melbourne last week, and this article from The Age gives a brief overview of his insights concerning the impact of trauma and neglect on brain development.  I have worked in the area supporting carers and children for over ten years now, and I can say without a moment of doubt that the most insightful and useful information I have learned in that time has come from Dr. Bruce Perry.  If you are a carer and have not come across his work before, I strongly recommend getting hold of some of his articles or books.  Ask your foster care agency to order them!

Brain Function and ADHD

December 12, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This article referencing Dr Alisdair Vance from the Royal Children’s Hospital confirms the close relationship between biology and capacity to cope with stress.  Studies have found that children with ADHD showed different responses in the parietal lobes to their non-hyperactive peers when performing memory tasks.  

Queensland Judge in the spotlight

December 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues, Media | 2 Comments

Andrew Bolt has written an article in his usual strong manner concerning the contentious sentence passed down by Judge Sarah Bradley in Cairns Queensland that has hit the media today.  Aparently, in the sentence remarks, the Judge commented that the girl “probably agreed to have sex with all” nine offenders.  The girl was ten at the time of the offence that took place in indigineous community Aurukun.  This story highlights a number of issues.  Firstly, the ignorant assumption that a ten year old girl could give legal consent to sex with nine men.  This comment shows a lack of understanding of the impact of sexual abuse on children, and the responsibility of all adults to protect rather than exploit children.  There seems to be a lack of awareness of the girl’s vulnerability.   Secondly,  the confusion of the legitimate protection of children with the devastatingly flawed government policies that lead to the creation of the stolen generation last century.  Notably, this article suggests the lack of support for the Judge’s decision from Aboriginal leaders.  Finally, I can’t help but wonder what supports were put in place to protect this girl as she was returned to her community.  During her time in foster care, it was evident that her behaviour was highly sexualised.  The foster parents clearly expressed their concerns.  Did she continue counselling when she returned to her comunity?  How was her birth family prepared for her particular needs?  It seems to me that the systemic support for this girl both before and after she was raped is under question.


December 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Carer Posts | 2 Comments

This reflection was contributed by a carer from Melbourne’s eastern region who attended the recent Foster Care Conference.


I looked around the auditorium to view the volunteers. Over 300 men and women chatting, sharing stories, city and country faces, some nursing babies.

There’s something else about them. Their age. The youngest must be fifty, and many much older. Talking of their child’s progress, sharing tips about health care, school stuff, tackling tricky behaviour. No,  it’s not their grandkids they speak of but their foster cildren…

I wonder who will do this caring when they are retired and gone.
Who will give a child a chance to be relieved of a stressful situation? Who will advocate for their best interest?

We could let younger people look after these special kids?
We could welcome sole parents, single people, people with their own kids and same sex couples couldn’t we?
You know what? We already do.

Another NSW tragedy

December 6, 2007 at 10:25 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment

This story appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago, and documents the tragic death of a five month old aboriginal boy in the care of a relative.   It seems that there were inadequate checks into the suitability of the relative to care for the boy.  The article refers to the relative as a “foster father”.  Just thought it was worth pointing out that relatives or “kinship carers” are assessed and supported very differently to people who are trained, assessed, and supported as foster carers.  I think that this story highlights yet again the importance of treating kinship placements with the same seriousness and support available for foster parents.

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