Luke & Sarah on 2AY

On Tuesday 26 April, 2AY aired an interview Sarah Rogers (Manager, Hume Riverina Community Legal Service) and I recorded with Sandra Moon on her breakfast show. The topic was the recent release of the Royal Commission into Family Violence report, and some of the impact for our community. The report’s recommendations are very comprehensive and will take years to implement, involving substantial funding along with systemic change. It is a serious attempt to address a major social issue.

2AY have made a commitment to UMFC to be a major corporate partner and assist us to communicate with our shared audiences. Our first radio interview is only the beginning of what will hopefully be regular opportunities for our messages to be aired. This is very exciting and a great responsibility for us to use the media to inform and educate our local community about social issues.

This development has come about because of the partnership UMFC has with Dutch Media, the marketing gurus who helped us redesign our logo, brand, and website. Our gala night on the 13 February was very successful because of Dutch Media’s leadership in organising our association with SS&A in Albury. Dutch Media has also guided us in developing our marketing strategy, intended to raise our profile and forge positive, mutually beneficial business partnerships. Indeed, these activities form the beginning of our marketing strategy, which will encompass: TV, radio, print, and digital (website and social) media.

It is amazing to meet such creative and dynamic people, who are so responsive to our cause, and willing to give their time and expertise, when they are flat out in their daily work. This generosity is inspiring.

Click below to listen to the interview in full:

I attended a meeting at DHHS on the 29/3 to hear from two speakers from the Annie.E.Casey Foundation in New York. This $3 Billion private foundation was established by a man raised by a single mum and named in her honour. The Foundation carries out research into effective services for vulnerable families. They were brought out by DHHS after the Minister’s visit to NY last year and to assist with the Roadmap for Reform. There were a number of comments I thought you might like to hear too. Like Australia, there is an over representation of children from minority groups in out of home care. There was a comment that cultural sensitivity training didn’t seem very effective in changing this fact, rather what was important were the outcomes at critical decision points in the family/child’s life. The national average in the USA of where kids were placed was around 50% foster care, 25% kinship and 25% other (e.g. residential care). In Victoria we have a much higher placement rate in kinship and that’s where they want to get to as well. The comment was made that some of the best work in kinship was done by kinship specific agencies with best practice being staff tracking down kin placements 24 hrs a day.

There is a greater use of adoption in the States compared to Australia but the rates of older children being adopted had fallen from 20% in 2004 to 16% in 2012. There wasn’t any difference in the profile of children in residential care and foster care and in fact most kids in residential care do so as their first placement. The research shows that after 6 months, kids in residential care don’t fare well and the policy is to have such placements change as quickly as possible.

The key change they recommended to improve the out of home care system would be to have dedicated support staff for foster parents (as distinct from Victoria where the foster care worker supports both the carer and the foster child and sometimes the child’s family). There was a measurement tool being widely used and claimed as empirically validated, the Treatment Outcome Package (TOP), which could be used by all stakeholders (i.e. carers/ child/ worker) and the comment was made that some children disclosed more information on this then in conversations with staff or carers.

The Foundation’s website is worth a look, and I believe based on our Minister’s comments we should expect to see some of this work happening in Victoria. To finish, I was struck by the comment concerning kinship care and who was best to offer support to such carers. The essential point for such carers was if the provider was trusted by the local community. This endorses the language we hear about place based responses and should encourage our commitment as a local provider to our families.

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UMFC acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work. We acknowledge their culture is a living one, which relates to their ongoing connection to all things living and non-living on land, sea and sky. We pay our respect to their elders past and present. May our children of today lead us to a better tomorrow.


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All children and young people who access UMFC Services have a right to feel and be safe and to be treated with respect. We are committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment and working towards the best interests of children and young people at all times.