New reforms will help strengthen NSW families
25 October 2018
Leading child welfare provider OzChild welcomes the NSW Government’s tabling of a landmark child protection bill into parliament this week.
The Amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act and the Adoption Act will improve prevention services to keep children safely at home with their families and restore family connections when it is possible to do so.
OzChild’s Chief Executive Officer Lisa Griffiths said the organisation supported changes to be introduced by the Government that would secure better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
“We applaud the NSW Government’s significant investment of programs that are proven to work in strengthening families and help prevent children and young people entering the Out-of-Home Care system,” Ms Griffiths said.
“The evidence based and evidence informed programs we deliver in NSW are internationally proven and I am proud to say show significant improvements for the children, young people and families we work with.”
As part of the Government’s reforms, there will be greater engagement with Aboriginal families and communities to mitigate child protection risks before children are placed in care.
Associate Professor Dea Delaney-Thiele, OzChild’s National Executive Director of Aboriginal Partnerships, welcomed the reforms.
“This is a positive move to help ensure Aboriginal children and young people are supported in culturally safe environments,” Associate Professor Delaney-Thiele said.
“It will give the extended family the opportunity to be involved in decisions about the care of their children and reduce the number of Aboriginal children and young people being removed into Out-of-Home Care.”
OzChild provided a comprehensive submission to the public consultation process following the release of the discussion paper, Shaping A Better Child Protection System in 2017.
OzChild currently provides early intervention programs Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare and Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect in Western Sydney and will begin the delivery of Treatment Foster Care Oregon and Functional Family Therapy before the end of this year.
Firefighter by day, volunteer by night
22 October 2018
Working as a mentor has helped one of OzChild’s volunteers better relate to the children and young people he deals with in the course of his work.
As a shift worker, Max McQueen often felt he should be doing something more productive during his downtime, so he decided to investigate volunteering.
“As a firefighter I occasionally attend emergencies with children involved, so I thought volunteering with children would help me learn how to better relate to them and make them feel comforted during what can sometimes be traumatic experiences for them,” Max said.
“I often had time off during the week when my friends and family were busy, so I thought becoming a volunteer would be a really beneficial way to spend some of my spare time.”
Max, who has been volunteering with OzChild’s Positive Horizions program for just over 12 months, typically mentors his young charge between 3 – 5 hours each week depending on the activities they plan.
“I usually pick him up from school one day a week and we’ll do an activity that we’ve planned together. Anything from a visit to the pool, to kicking the footy to cooking dinner for his family,” Max said.
“We’ve had a heap of fun experiences over the last year, but I think my favourite thing has been watching his confidence grow.
“When I first took him to the park he was hesitant about even climbing to the top of the play equipment but just recently he told me that he went on the flying fox and giant swing at the school camp and wasn’t even scared. I felt intensely proud of him.”
Max had volunteered previously with other organisations such as St John’s Ambulance and Meals on Wheels but is really enjoying his role as a mentor in the Positive Horizons program.
“Honestly it has been such a rewarding experience; to know that by offering a child some consistency in their life and listening to them, you can really foster a sense of support that gives them courage to face the challenges that childhood presents,” Max said.
“I’ve also learnt a lot about how best to relate to children, and that in turn has given me the confidence to be able to support them appropriately when we attend emergencies at work.”
Volunteers are crucial to the work that OzChild does with children and families and Max is encouraging other residents living in the Shire of Cardinia to consider volunteering.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer with OzChild’s Positive Horizons call Claire on 8796 000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New teams undertake specialist training
4 October 2018
OzChild recently welcomed specialist trainer Dr Michael Robbins from Functional Family Therapy LLC to Melbourne.
Dr Robbins was in Australia to deliver training sessions for OzChild’s new Functional Family Therapy - CW® (FFT-CW) teams. The teams will be based in Mitcham in the Outer East region and Shepperton in the Goulburn region of Victoria
The FFT-CW program uses a holistic approach to addressing issues affecting families facing vulnerability. By addressing these issues collaboratively families are supported to take practical actions to reduce the risk of their children (aged 0-17 years) entering care.
Dr Robbins is a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute and Director of Research for Functional Family Therapy Inc. He has extensive experience conducting clinical research on family therapy with drug using, delinquent adolescents and their families. He has directly overseen the training of hundreds of family therapists, both nationally and internationally.
Both teams have recently received their first referrals of families.
Find out more about FFT-CW here:
Photo (from left): Mellisa Ward (FFT-CW Family Practitioner Outer East), Sadhani Mendis (FFT-CW Family Practitioner Outer East), Kady Rasouli (FFT-CW Family Practitioner Outer East), Dr Michael Robbins, Michael Thwaites (FFT-CW Team Leader Goulburn), Leila Wheib (FFT-CW Family Practitioner Outer East), Kaye Weinert (FFT-CW Family Practitioner Goulburn), and Barak Ben Or (FFT-CW Team Leader Outer East)
Urgent: Experienced foster carer needed
3 October, 2018
My name is Annie*. I am 13 years old and have lived in many different homes in my short life.
I am a likeable, engaging and insightful girl, who is curious about the world around me.
In lots of ways, I’m a typical young teenager – I like music, clothes, and having a joke with my carers. I enjoy art activities and especially love spending time outside walking and going to the beach. I am doing really well at school, and enjoy attending every day.
Sometimes I find being in crowds frightening, and I need lots of encouragement to stay calm near large groups of people. I am learning how to do yoga and use relaxation strategies, which help to ease the anxiety I sometimes feel.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the family I am currently living with is unable to continue to care for me and the OzChild team need to find new foster carers to open their hearts and home for me as soon as possible.
I need an experienced foster carer who is competent, flexible, relatable. I have a developmental delay and do best with lots of patience.
I would love to live with a carer who will play with me and help me to learn more new skills.
If you think you fit the bill, please call our foster care team on 9212 3947 or email email@example.com
* name has been changed
More support of New South Wales’ most vulnerable children
13 September 2018
The NSW Government has committed to an innovative program to improve the lives of the New South Wales’ most at risk children and young people.
Investment in Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) marks a new approach by the NSW Government in supporting children with the most complex needs.
The evidence-based program will be delivered by national provider of children, young people and family support services OzChild. It aims to reduce the number of placement breakdowns for children and young people in foster and kinship care and prevent the escalation of children from foster care to residential care.
OzChild Chief Executive Officer Lisa Griffiths said OzChild was thrilled to be part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of the children, young people and families of New South Wales through Their Futures Matter reforms.
“We are excited we now have the opportunity to support the children and young people within Western Sydney and get them back into a stable, family life,” Ms Griffiths said.
“TFCO has been proven to improve the outcomes for child and young people internationally, with them spending more time living with their families and attending school than those who don’t complete the program.
The program will be based in Campbelltown and Blacktown from December 2018 and receive referrals from the Sydney metropolitan FACS Districts for children aged 7-17 who meet the eligibility criteria.
Minister for Family and Community Services (FACS) Pru Goward said the NSW Government was committed to achieving better outcomes for children in out-of-home care.
“Through our landmark child protection reform, Their Futures Matter (TFM), we are creating a system which delivers strong, evidence-based programs and services based on the needs of children and their families,’’ Ms Goward said.
“This new approach to child protection and wellbeing ensures the right support for children to give them a strong foundation for a better life.
“This government is committed to breaking the cycle of neglect and abuse to help children and young people reach their full potential and thrive.”
TFCO has been successfully delivered for more than 30 years in countries such as the UK, US and New Zealand. It is an intensive program in which children are placed with highly-trained carers supported by a team of professionals for 9-12 months with the goal of reuniting them with their birth families or long-term carers who receive continued support.
TFCO carers require specialised skills and are provided with a generous tax-free reimbursement to allow the carer to provide continuous support to the child or young person.
OzChild is currently recruiting TFCO foster carers in Victoria, Queensland and NSW. To find out more visit https://www.ozchild.org.au/foster-care/tfco/