Information Evening Lilydale

March 31, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Coming Events, Events, Where can I foster? | 4 Comments
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Anglicare Victoria are holding a foster care information session in Melbourne’s outer-east during Youth Week.

If you’ve ever thought about fostering, volunteering to help a child or young person in need, or just want to make a difference, then this is for you.

 Anglicare provides foster care and support for children and young people aged 0-18, an Adolescent Community Placement (ACP) program for young people aged 13-17, and several specific programs for children and young people with a disability or high needs.

Information Session- Lilydale

Date:  Monday April 7th

Time: 7:30-8:30pm

Venue:   Anglicare Victoria Yarra Ranges, 47-51 Castella St, Lilydale, VIC

The Black Balloon Review

March 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Heart-felt, honest and genuine, the debut feature film from Elissa Down, is beautifully written, shot and performed.   

As with most debut films, this film was clearly a very personal exploration of Down’s own upbringing and early life which was demonstrated by her empathy and strength of story telling.

Toni Collette played a superbly as a mother coping with an autistic son through a beautiful sense of humour and optimism, humanising an often misunderstood and confronting condition. The mother’s character was admirable saying, that she thinks their family were given Charlie “because we are strong enough to cope.”

Still the film never glosses over the challenges, especially not the challenges of starting at a new school, in a new town with an autistic brother.

This is a coming of age film with a difference and succeeds uncovering layers of an often marginalised group of people and their families, by offering a human story to go beyond the stereotypes.

Although I’m usually a supporter of the rich, shared experience of going to a cinema, if you go to see The Black Balloon I suggest you take some spare tissues for your neighbours to minimise surround sniffles- this one is quite the tear-jerker.

You can watch the trailer, or post your own review in the comments.

Cultural Considerations- A need for CALD Carers

March 19, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Issues for Fostering, Links, Resources | 1 Comment

There is a growing concern among many Victorian agencies of a need for diversity among the pool of carers. Although there is generally a lower representation of children from CALD backgrounds (Culturally And Linguistically Diverse), where there are issues of language and culture it would be ideal to have a number of carers from a similar background to be involved in fostering that child.

Why? More than for anything else, this is to help the child feel as comfortable as possible, it doesn’t take much imgination to realise that on top of the trauma of being unable to live at home,  dealing with culture shock at such a young age would be extremely frightening.

There’s a strong emphasis and importance on placing Indigenous children with Indigenous carers for these cultural continuity reasons, and as you can see from this video, that desire is spreading throughout a number of other communities.

Its just another example of the need for people from all walks of life; young, old, single, couples (married or unmarried), big families and small.           

Child-safe Car Travel

March 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Articles, Media | 1 Comment

There may be a change in guidelines for child-safe car travel.  Full details here.

The Black Balloon

March 17, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in Media, Resources, Stories | 1 Comment
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The Black Balloon, starring our very own Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Rhys Wakefield and the lovely Toni Collette, is a raw and honest though somewhat confronting insight into a family’s struggle with Autism. This little Aussie film is showing throughout Melbourne at Nova, Villiage, Hoyts and other indpendendant cinemas.

Autism can be a very challenging disorder for families to face, so having access to supports such as respite and foster care programs is an enormous benefit.

Contrary to popular associations of disability wheelchairs, a significant proportion of children in foster-types of disability support programs are affected Autism as well as additional health issues such as epilepsy.     

If you’ve seen The Black Balloon, tell us what you think by leaving a comment.

Mandatory Reporting of Abuse Confessions

March 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Articles, Child Protection, Media | 4 Comments
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The Australian Childhood Foundation has is calling for religious leaders to have the same obligations in mandatory reporting of abuse as teachers, doctors and nurses.

AChF provide many supports including therepy to children who have suffer trauma and abuse. They work very closely with foster care organisations, especially through a number of the thereputic programs for foster children with specific or high needs.  

This article appeared in the local Leader Newspaper last week and brings to light a disturbing case where a man made a confession to a priest that he sexually abused his daughter. The priest did not report the confession and the abuse continued.

Maroondah Leader has asked for reader feedback on “Do you think church leaders should have to report child abuse confessed to them?”… surely this is a no-brainer.   

A new form of abuse?

March 11, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles | 1 Comment

An article in the Herald Sun today raises questions about parents who put their children through painful cosmetic surgery. To see what you think about the issue, read the full article here.

“Running wild”

March 11, 2008 at 9:08 am | Posted in Articles, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment

The Herald Sun printed a damning article regarding Victoria’s residential care system last Friday. Despite the efforts of the Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary, little attention was given to the extremity of some of these children’s situations or possible solutions for this problem, with the focus lying (once again) squarely on the failings of the agencies who provide this service. You can read the full article
here, or The Age‘s version of the story here.

Kids at Risk

March 5, 2008 at 9:13 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection, Media, Stories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last night SBS’s Insight program explored questions around Child Protection and included a range of panellists, including former foster children or children who had in some way experienced the system, representatives from DOCS and DHS, case workers and psychologists. What fascinated me about this particular program was that mostly, there was a general consensus on a number of points (which doesn’t often happen on Insight!). These were that: 1) the system is not coping in most states and is therefore not meeting the needs of children 2) Victoria seems to have the strongest tradition and current system for preventative action 3) More funding is needed 4) the decisions about whether or not to remove a child are extremely difficult, so much so that two adult brothers still do not agree on whether they themselves should have been removed.

The program succeeded in amplifying to a larger audience these points, all of which anyone who works in the field could have reeled off in their sleep. I was disappointed however that the problem of the diminishing supply of foster carers was not mentioned. Even when Jenny Brockie seemed to push for fewer notifications to be left investigated and more children to be removed, no one raised the issue of a shortage of foster homes to place them in.

Brockie’s recurring question, “What are we going for the kids at risk tonight”, can only be answered in part by state departments, the bulk of the answer must come from us as a nation in terms of funding, and we as citizens of a community and our role in supporting families and children.

In the end, and in the words of a former foster child, what ‘kids at risk’ need is “even when I was, you know, a bloody annoying kid … to know that yes, there is someone out there that actually cares about them, that actually loves them and is not going to give up on them“.  

Kids at Risk can be watched online, and is also repeated on Firday at 1:30 and Monday at 3:30.   

Becoming a carer in Victoria

March 3, 2008 at 10:30 am | Posted in Where can I foster? | Leave a comment
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Wherever you live in Victoria, and whatever kind of fostering interests you, this page hosted by the Foster Care Association of Victoria covers all bases.

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