Referral Process

October 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Issues for Fostering, Media | Leave a comment
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Recent media articles quoting Wesley Mission’s statitics for the last year stated that

243 children had been placed in foster care but a further 873 children could not be placed due to a lack of carers and resources.

This number is a serious concern but not as alarming as it may first appear to be when you understand the referral process.

  1. When a Home-Based Care placement is required, the relevant State Department (in Victoria it is DHS) contacts the most appropriate agency, based on geographical regions and the types of programs provided.
  2. This agency will perform a matching process, and contact any available and appropriate carers to see if they are able to take on the placement.
  3. If no carers are available or able to take the placement, the agency will advise DHS.
  4. This process is repeated with other agencies in the region, then potentially in neighbouring regions. In most cases a placement is found, even if it is a contingency or emergency placement.
  5. If this is unsuccessful, a child who is appropriate for Home-Based Care may be placed in Children’s Residential Services. It is important to note that some children and young people are assessed as being appropriate for Residential Services straight away. Resi should not be seen as an ‘end of the line’ form of care, but rather as a different form of care which will suit some children and young people more than others.

So, Wesley Mission answered over 1000 calls for placements from the department, was able to place 243 children, but was unable at that time to place a further 873. However, in all likelihood, another agency would have found a suitable placement, either emergency or short-long term.

Obviously we’re all working hard to reduce this number, as the fewer available carers an agency has the less able they are to make a good match. Once again, anyone who would like to find out more should call 1800 013 088.

Free public transport for carers

October 20, 2008 at 8:32 am | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment
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A small step forward is documented in this small article from the Herald Sunclick here to read. Some foster carers for children and young people with a disability will now be eligible for free public transport on Sundays. Wouldn’t it be great to see free public transport offered to all foster carers, all of the time? If this were the case, it might go a little way towards easing some of the major transport issues surrounding foster care.

Same-sex couples encouraged to care

October 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Articles, Issues for Fostering, Media | Leave a comment
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The Age has published an article today which highlights the discrepancy between current adoption laws and the state of affairs in foster care in regards to gay and lesbian members of the community. Because gay and lesbian couples are currently unable to adopt, it seems that many people believe they cannot foster. In reality, gay and lesbian couples and singles are strongly encouraged to consider foster care. Read the full article here .

ADHD workshops

October 14, 2008 at 9:33 am | Posted in Coming Events, Resources | 1 Comment

“Every Day with ADHD” workshops will be running throughout Victoria over the next couple of weeks throughout October and November. The content will be relevant to both parents and carers who are caring for children with ADHD.

According to the organisation;

Kerry Cooney, author of the most comprehensive ADHD behaviour management book, Every Day with ADHD, and facilitator of parenting courses, workshops and seminars on ADHD for over 10 years is conducting workshops in Victoria during October and November.

The presentations are designed to offer understanding and management keys to Parents, Teachers, Early Childhood professionals, Carers, in fact, any one who wants to understand and better manage the world of ADHD. Learn how to decrease angry and aggressive behaviour; reduce stress and anxiety; provide tools for the child’s future; while giving recognition and encouragement to positive qualities.

See the website for price and venue details and how to register.


Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

October 13, 2008 at 9:52 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment
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A rather sad but interesting article in the Herald Sun here, which speaks about the relationship of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy with cases of child protection.

Opinions are often divided over individual cases, but it is commonly agreed that this syndrome presenting in parents can be a great risk their children. So…what to do?

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in foster care

October 8, 2008 at 11:09 am | Posted in Issues for Fostering, Media | Leave a comment

All In The Mind on Radio National recently had a very interesting program about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and the strong correlation with foster care.

… a large proportion of these children, again about 66%, were in foster care and what was also of extreme concern to us was that about 40% of them had a sibling with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, indicating that we’d missed opportunities for prevention of another severely affected child.

Encouragingly, when speaking about a particular case of a child who was placed with this carer at 5 years old (now 15 years old)  who has a diagnosis she said

… When we speak about it’s not more a label it’s just helping her understand it’s not my fault, I’m not really this bad person that other people would have me believe that I am, but there’s a reason why I’m not coping as other people do.

Kids waiting at police stations

October 8, 2008 at 9:17 am | Posted in Articles, Child Protection, Media | Leave a comment

The Herald Sun reported yesterday on some circumstances where children wait at police stations before the adults around them- DHS workers, magistrates, social workers- are able to decide where the child will be sleeping that night. These are times of high stress for children undergoing a traumatic experience in their young lives.

To a large extent the Herald Sun’s information is a reality, however, it should also have been noted in the article that these situations occur because of the the court system operates. So, rather than accommodating a blame game between courts, DHS and police it would be great if all these parties could come together to think out real solutions, keeping in mind the importance of well considered decisions and the need for a safe and comforting environment for children experiencing significant upheavel and stress.

Confusing needs of children and families

October 7, 2008 at 10:34 am | Posted in Articles, Issues for Fostering, Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Australian ran an article last week about a submission made by a couple who are calling for more foster care placements to be converted to permanent care. The headline, Potential Carers Put Off Fostering implies that the decision to become a foster carer is often hinged on this point and therefore changes should be made.

Fertility difficulties like that of the couple interviewed here, while heartbreaking for families involved, is and has to be irrelevant when considering how we manage care planning processes. These considerations must look at how we can best meet the needs of the child, not how we can find children for families.

That is not to say that reviews of how these transitions are functioning should not occur, but these should always be seeking to improve outcomes and stability for children with an understanding of the importance of birth families in the formation of identity and belonging and the need for a safe and nurturing environment.

The couple interviewed here state that they turn off when they hear about foster care. Rather than seeing this as a negative, I think this shows that the community is gaining a stronger insight into what foster care means and can work constructively towards deciding if it is a path that would suit their lifestyle and abilities.

Is smacking child abuse?

October 6, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Child Protection, Media | 2 Comments
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This debate has started to rage again after a grandmother in NSW has had four children removed by the Department of Community Services after she smacked one young child. You can read articles relating to this story here and here .

If children start getting removed more frequently because of a smack, I wonder how the already overloaded child protection system will be likely to cope.

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