Suitability Panel Formed

August 28, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Issues for Fostering, Resources, Supports for Carers | Leave a comment

The Children Youth and Families Act 2005places strong emphasis on the well-being and safety of children who cannot live safely at home, and sets out procedures and principles for the protection of Children including their best interests. The Act also provides for a number of new initiatives including:

  • new processes for investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse against a child or young person in out of home care
  • the creation of a Suitability Panel to assess whether an allegation of physical or sexual abuse against a child is proved and whether, as a result, an individual is found to pose an unacceptable risk of harm to children and is therefore disqualified from being registered to care for children

This means that carers now have an avenue to have a disqualification reviewed.

The Suitability Panel is has developed an information bookletthat can be downloaded from the internet called “Who we are and what we do”.

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Adoption trauma

August 26, 2008 at 10:01 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Media | Leave a comment

Though a little off the foster care topic, I have spoken to quite a few families at information sessions about Inter-Country adoption, many who are at the time feeling despondent about the reality of the wait involved in adopting a child from overseas. This article, Painful truth about adopted children in The Australian newspaper today illustrates the reason why the long wait for checks and balances, though frustrating, is so vital.

August 23, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Links, Resources | Leave a comment

A new report has been released in Queensland which

investigates and documents the views of children and young people in alternative care (foster care and residential care) and in detention centres in Queensland.

Foster Child: award winning film

August 21, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Links, Media, Stories | Leave a comment

A Filipino based film about a foster family has won an award at the Brisbane International Film Festival. For more information check of The Lions Den blog site.

Trans-generational healing

August 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection, Indigenous issues, Media | 5 Comments

This Stephen Hagan has written an article looking at the trans-generational trends of separation of families looking particularly at the Australian Indigenous experience of the past two centuries. But although his articles is quite specific in its focus, reading the following excerpt the kinds of recommendations he’s calling for are probably relevant across all cultures in Australia given what we know about the cyclical nature of abuse and neglect problems. 

Hagen quotes from recommendations by Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) : 

Healing for victims and perpetrators of family violence and child abuse, Education for victims and perpetrators,Education in protective behaviour for very young children to lessen the chance of them becoming victims,

More education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, including those in remote communities, in sexual health, protective behaviour, life choices, rights, self esteem and parenting training.

Empowering community leaders who are trusted and respected in their own communities to help with healing and education

Programs addressing familial sexual abuse with elements to address the needs of the victim, the other children in the family,the non-abusive parent and the abusing parent.

It takes a community to raise a child but sadly with the escalation in Indigenous children being removed from their parents it would appear that many within our communities are not pulling their weight in looking out for children at risk.

We all need to be vigilant and not be frightened to report to police obvious signs of child neglect: patterns of late night partying, domestic violence, unkempt children, excessively untidy households; high grass, washing on line for days on end, empty car bodies and an accumulation of rubbish and beer bottles littering the yard, to name a few.

But above all parents ought to do more to protect their children by kicking their alcohol, drug or gambling habits or if it’s the partner who has the addiction ask them to kick it or be brave enough to give them their marching orders.

To do nothing and place those noxious addictions above the welfare of their children is inviting the prophetic words of Oscar Wilde who once said: ‘Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.’

Baby drop service a possibility for Victoria

August 8, 2008 at 11:37 am | Posted in Articles, Child Protection, Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Herald Sun has reported that Premier Brumby is open to a “baby drop service” for distressed mothers who feel unable to care for their babies. This follows the tragic news of a baby who died after it was abandoned at a bus stop in Shepparton.

Obviously any services which could potentially save lives are important to seriously consider. At the same time we must realise that one of the most crucial failings leading up to this occurrence was that mum was not able to access help when she needed it most. Its important therefore to realise a baby drop service alone as a solution bypasses opportunities to bring mothers or fathers in contact with support services, supports which may be enough to enable the family to stay together.

Its likely that focusing on both parts of the solution in tandem would lead to the best outcomes.

The cost of caring: report

August 6, 2008 at 11:28 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Issues for Fostering, Links | Leave a comment

This statement made by a number of key national bodies involved in Child Protection and/or Foster Care provision makes a strong claim for an increase in the reimbursements offered to carers.

The Cost of Caring report (see all reports from the Australian Foster Care Association)  found that the estimates of the cost of looking after a foster children is 52% higher than that of children who are not in care. Higher costs are attributed to housing, wear and tear, home and contents insurance, water usage, energy, food, clothing and foot-wear, health, specialist assistance, transport (particularly visits to birth parents), leisure and personal care. It also found that no Australian state territory is adequately reimbursing foster carers for these costs.

There has long been a stigma that foster carers are only in it for the money, a claim which is clearly blown out of the water by the Cost of Caring draft report.

Interestingly it also argues that reimbursements are having a significant negative effect on the recruitment and retention of carers.

My experienceof speaking to carers about the financial costs for their families has been that while the reimbursements are very low, meaning that sometimes they pay for nice extras for kids out of their own pockets it is possible to stretch the reimbursementsto cover the necessities. In the organisation I work for do our best to find funding to cover the larger once off costs.    

Clearly, thisreport gives us just one more reason to applaud and thank foster carers who are true heroes in our communities.

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