Child abuse – ‘a blight on us all’

June 30, 2008 at 9:19 am | Posted in Articles, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment
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It was good to see a rather sad article in The Age today detailing some basics about the brain development of children who suffer child abuse and the long-term costs this abuse will cause.  The article also includes a couple of interesting suggestions for improvement, and asserts that our ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ approach to children these days is not necessarily healthy.  It is most definitely worth a read – you can do so, here .

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Therapeutic foster care’s impacts on juvenile offending; research

June 24, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Child Protection, Issues for Fostering, Links, Resources | 7 Comments
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One of my collegues has recently written a very interesting research paper looking at the ways that Therapeutic foster care programs such as Circle and Track programs can impact on future risks of juvenile offences.

12 Year Old Takes Dad To Court

June 19, 2008 at 11:40 am | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment
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A 12-year old Canadian girl has taken her Dad to court to appeal his use of grounding as a punishment…and she’s won. Could this be the start of a whole new breed of children entering foster care? Perhaps it’s not long before some young people decide that they shouldn’t have to put up with their parents ‘restrictive’ rules at all. You can read the full article here .

SA Government Says Sorry To Former Wards

June 18, 2008 at 10:00 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles | 3 Comments
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Following the Mullighan enquiry, which investigated over 70 years of alleged abuse suffered by former state wards, the South Australian Government has issued a formal apology. You can read the full story here .

Information Evening

June 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Coming Events, Events | Leave a comment

Would you like to find out more about foster care? Do you have questions you to ask agency staff about becoming a carer? Would you like to hear first hand experiences about what its like to be involved from other volunteers?

We’re inviting you to our information evening, held at our Bayswater site, 666 Mountain Hwy, Bayswater, beginning at 7:30 pm. The presentation runs for 30 mins with 30 mins for question time both as a group and individually. Call 1300 889 335 for more information.

All Welcome!

Queensland Parents Charged

June 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment
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A couple from Queensland have been charged with “failing to provide the necessities of life” to their deceased twin children News.com.au reported today.  It will be interesting to see if this incident brings cases of neglect under sharper scrutiny for a time.  Another sad aspect of the case is that the woman’s 11 year old child found the twins – almost certainly an extremely traumatic experience.  You can read the full article here .

Leaving Care program reduces Homelessness by half

June 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Posted in Media | 1 Comment

ABC has reported that a pilot program run by St Luke’s Anglicare in Bendigo aimed at supporting young people as they leave foster care has halved the rate of homelessness in the area over four years.

As we’ve commented before, there are significant deficiancies in the supports available for young people who’ve lived in foster care once they turn 18. Its great to see a program have such strong results, hopefully we will start to see the program expanded to other regions in Victoria and across Australia.

What is Respite Foster Care?

June 13, 2008 at 10:02 am | Posted in About Fostering | 5 Comments
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While the term ‘respite care’ is casually thrown around among people involved in the foster care sector, many members of the public may be unsure exactly what it means in the world of foster care. So, here is a brief explanation…

Respite foster care can be broadly divided into two distinct types.

i) respite for child/ren’s birth family – to prevent family breakdown, generally over a period of 6 or 12 months for one weekend a month and/or a week in the school holidays. This also allows the child to have a break from a stressful situation and take some time out.

ii) respite for a fulltime foster carer – to give the foster carer a break, let them spend time with their own family, go on holiday etc. this may be on a regular or as-needed basis for the duration of the placement, or in a time of particular stress or difficulty. This also allows the child to have a break from other children in the household, and take some time out.

Respite foster carers are trained and assessed just like fulltime foster carers. Respite carers may provide fulltime care as well, or may focus solely on respite. They may provide respite care for toddlers, children and teenagers with or without a disability.

Generally respite care occurs on a weekend, although there are many variations, especially during school holidays. If the respite is a regular arrangement, weekends are normally agreed upon in advance. This process is managed by the child’s case worker, who liases with the birth family and foster family or families.

Although each situation is different, there are some general similarities between most cases. If the respite is for a birth family, either the case worker or the respite carer may pick up and drop off the child at either end of the respite. The exact dates and times of the pick up and drop off will vary according to the availability and needs of the birth family and the respite carer.

If the respite is for a foster carer, it is generally expected that the fulltime carer will either drop off or pick up the child, and the respite carer will take responsibility for the other. Exact pick up and drop off times will usually be arranged between the carers. Respite carers may also pick up a child from school on a Friday night and drop them back to school on the Monday morning. This gives the fulltime foster carer a full weekend off. Little things like washing the child’s clothes before returning them can also make life easier for the fulltime carer.

While the child/ren is/are under the care of the respite carer it is expected that all normal aspects of care looked after by the fulltime foster carer are administered by the respite foster carer in consultation with the child’s case worker.

Respite carers are reimbursed for their day-to-day costs at the same nightly rate as fulltime foster carers. The exact amount is dependent on the number of nights a child is in respite with the carer, the age of the child, and the category of the program the child is a part of (general, intensive complex etc).

Disability respite care

June 11, 2008 at 11:46 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Coming Events | 1 Comment
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The following article was published in the Maroondah Journal last week. It emphasises the need for more households willing to provide respite care for children and young people with a disability.

Show some care and help families

3/06/2008 11:33:00 AM
A LACK of respite care in the outer east has prompted calls to address concerns from carers and struggling families.

Anglicare Victoria eastern region carer recruitment, training and retention spokeswoman Jessica Noske-Turner said there were concerns about the lack of support for families who struggled to care for a member with a disability.

She said a lack of respite was a “key debate” in the community.

“Although some organisations, such as Anglicare Victoria, run disability support programs to provide respite or full-time care, we are currently unable to meet the demand due to a serious shortage of volunteer carers.

“We’re looking for volunteer support for everything from transport, for a `friends’ program, through to respite or full-time care.”

Wantirna resident Meril Adams has been a carer at Anglicare eastern region for three years.

She said it was a rewarding role.

“We’ve had about 19 children from newborns to school age come and live with us, some overnight and some for weeks on end.

“It is always something my husband and I thought we would do – it was something we knew we could handle.”

She said there was a shortage of people willing to open their homes.

“Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be trained to put your hand up. You become an extended family to these children. It is very rewarding to look after these children.”

Mrs Adams said carers were vital to the health and wellbeing of families.

“Parents with children with a disability do need time out.

“Sometimes just having a child overnight can relieve an immense amount of pressure on a family.”

An information evening will be held at 7.30 on June 24 at Anglicare Victoria, 666 Mountain Highway, Bayswater. Details: 1300 889 335.

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Buddy Bags

June 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’ve just heard news that following a sucessful pilot, the Buddy Bag program will be rolled out throughout all agencies.

What is a Buddy Bag?

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has introduced a much needed program – Buddy Bags – developed in response to continued demands to support the many children who are removed from their homes due to violence with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Buddy Bags provide children with a backpack containing essential and personal items, all of which are brand new. It is theirs to keep, providing them with belongings of their very own, and will help begin the process of restoring a sense of safety and security into their lives.

Each Buddy Bag includes:

Backpack
Toothbrush + toothpaste
Pyjamas
Underwear
Singlet
Socks
Face washer
Pillowcase
Book
Photo frame
Money box / wallet
Colouring-in / activity book (age dependent)
Cuddly teddy bear / educational plush (age dependent)
Toy (age dependent)

This is wonderful news.

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