Christmas Cheer

It was great to see such a large attendance at our staff Xmas lunch at Cofield’s winery on the 14/12. The day provided me with some reflection on how UMFC has progressed over the years. I was approached by Max Cofield the owner of Cofield Winery and it was a pleasure to see him after many years. Max and his wife Karen were foster parents with the agency when I joined in 1984. We reminisced on some old times ( I recalled transporting a young person from Corryong to their home, Max remembered a rough red we shared ). They stopped fostering a short time later when Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was saddened to learn of her passing last year. Max looked the same and he kindly said the same to me, clearly failing eyesight is something we have in common. Inside at the lunch I was delighted to hand out 10 year certificates of service to a number of staff and introduce two new Board members, Deb Bender and Thomas Crumpton. This also allowed me to acknowledge our longest serving Board member who retired a year ago with Life membership, Lester Sawyer. I made the point to Thomas he was replacing someone with 33 years service!

Over lunch Lester shared some experiences with Deb and Thomas and told the story of how the night of the AGM when he was awarded Life membership he happened to mention it in conversation which was overheard by the restaurant staff. The staff person asked Lester which organisation he was talking about and when told said, he knew about UMFC as he had been fostered with one of our foster families. He spoke very positively about the experience.

The point I’m laboriously making is UMFC after 37 years of existence has a history with generations of great stories. Our proud record has been achieved by many good people over a long time and continues with outstanding people today. This year has been another full on busy time with multiple challenges and opportunities which we have faced with energy and conviction. I have no doubt that 2018 will be the same. So, to all staff and volunteers thanks for all the hard work and commitment, I hope you receive the acknowledgment you deserve and the satisfaction of helping others. Have a safe and Merry Christmas and New Year.

I am very delighted to announce that the Albury Wodonga Triathlon Club’s Women’s Only Triathlon has selected our Trust In Kids fund as its beneficiary this year. This support will provide us with many more opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds right here in our local community.

Take on our ‘cool’ and ‘courageous’ teams from UMFC’s Child & Family Services on Sunday 19th November in Yackandandah. The event consists of a 300m swim, 13 km ride, and 3 km run. This event is open to women aged 13 and upwards of all abilities. You can REGISTER NOW as either an individual or a team (2 or 3 people). The first 150 entries will receive a free event singlet.

We’ll be there – will you?

About Women’s Tri

The Albury Wodonga Triathlon Club, Women’s Tri is all about inclusion, we cater for all abilities over the age of 13.

Women often put themselves last, we encourage exercise for a healthy mind, body and soul. A healthy happy lady will be more confident in herself and her ability, and this morphs over to life in general.

The absolute best thing about the women’s tri, is having fun with your girlfriends and other ladies in a very inclusive environment, whilst achieving a goal and supporting a charity like Trust In Kids and knowing that your entry fee is helping those in need.

Believing in yourself and your ability to achieve and overcoming fears, anxiety, self talk, and you never know who you are inspiring in the process of your own journey!

Visit the Women’s Tri Facebook page

Download the flyer here


About Trust In Kids

Trust In Kids provides a timely boost to the most vulnerable kids and young people in our local community when there is nowhere left to turn.

Almost 1 in 5 Australian kids are living in poverty. There is a real need in our community to give local kids a ‘fair go’ and receive everyday opportunities they’d otherwise miss out on.

Some kids need help with basic necessities, such as bedding and furniture, other times it’s assistance with school costs, music, dance, or swimming lessons.

Your support can make a massive difference to a vulnerable child’s development, and help make them feel valued by our community.

Every cent you donate is spent on local kids and is tax deductible.

Learn more about Trust In Kids here


For a long time I subscribed the agency to the Harvard Business Review magazine. I happened to be reading some back issues and found one about high emotion services. The article had some interesting suggestions about questions such services should ask their customers. While the examples of such services ( birth, marriage, illness, death ) didn’t explicitly mention agencies like ours, the principle still applies, ie high emotion services may elicit intense feelings before any service may even begin. The reason for such feelings can be because there is a lack of familiarity with the service, a lack of control over the service’s performance, major consequences if things go wrong, complexity that gives the provider the upper hand and a long duration across a series of events.

So, some of the questions suggested to minimise customers anxiety include, what is our customers pre service impression of us? If our customers could make one improvement in our service what would it be? What could we do to make first impressions of our service exceptional? Can we demystify our service to relieve customers anxiety? What is the profile of our ideal employee? What skills and knowledge are critical to upholding our core purpose?

I believe we do have these reflections in the agency eg like designing the foyer in the new office, but it is useful to remind ourselves of the starting point a lot of our customers find themselves in and being empathic in responding accordingly. I was reminded of my casework experience ( pre industrial revolution ) when working with schools and families. A lot of the parents had very negative childhood school experiences, so expecting them to attend and participate at parent teacher meetings for example was for some a bridge too far. I’m sure this idea is not new to almost everyone but just as we can become blasé about our work space, so can we become forgetful of what it’s like for someone new.

Our Trust in Kids fund received a very generous donation from Rowly Paterson, owner of 2AY ACE Radio radio last month, which prompted me to review the TIK performance to date. We have allocated $ 55,700 to 107 children so far at an average of $520. Averages don’t always tell the full story as I recall one of our recent applications, from one of our financial counsellors, for funding to cover a child’s winter school uniform. Not a great deal of money but a massive deal for the young person and their family. We have approved around 90% of applications received, with the remainder referred to other more appropriate sources of support or withdrawn due to changed circumstances.

In addition to individual applications TIK gave $1400 worth of gift vouchers/ movie tickets to young people at Christmas who would otherwise have gone without a present. I was delighted to hear from Graham Walker, treasurer at the Lavington Lions that they would be donating funds to TIK following an address given to the club in March. It is this community support that makes a difference in children’s lives and so encouraging to receive.

Visit to learn more about our smart fund for disadvantaged kids in our local community.

On the 11/5/17 we celebrated the opening of our new Wodonga office with over 100 friends and colleagues. Our guest speaker and official opener was Victoria’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Liana Buchanan. Liana spoke passionately and eloquently about the importance of early intervention and support for vulnerable children and youth. Such services include UMFC’s Out of Home Care, Child and Family Services and the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service. Having these programs all under one roof promises stronger collaboration leading to better outcomes for our service users. Essential infrastructure as represented by our new office is part of the evidence the agency is committed to delivering high quality services for our local community. It is a source of great pride that this significant capital investment has been achieved without any government contribution. The independence of UMFC is further strengthened by such accomplishments.

UMFC has concluded its extensive evaluation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to see if the agency could participate in a viable and sustainable way.

The result is very clear, we cannot.  The constraints of providing services under the NDIS framework (i.e. the NDIS Price Guide) do not lend themselves to smaller organisations being able to provide a range of services in a viable and sustainable manner. With less than $1M revenue from services to people with disability, UMFC is considered a smaller provider.

The agency’s existing Aged and Disability Support Services will be restructured over the next 3 months, to adjust to the reduced funding. It will be a difficult time for us during this process. However, we remain committed to continuing to provide quality services to our community and this will be the basis of our restructure. We have been informing our current clients and key stakeholders of the decision, and will continue to share information when it becomes available.

The NDIS is set to be fully rolled out in Victoria by the 1/10/17. Most people understand that this radical change in the disability sector is based on moving funding from agencies, to eligible consumers, for them to choose the service and provider that best meets their needs. The premise of the NDIS is widely accepted as the right thing to do. There are however significant impacts of this new direction.

First, agencies need to decide if they can operate under the new model. In the trial sites which have been going for several years, the evidence is that 2 out of 5 agencies have a negative cash position. The NDIS as an insurance scheme funds the provider retrospectively, meaning you need a strong cash flow to operate until the money paid out is recouped.

Second, the trial sites have shown around 30% of consumers have changed providers. This turnover means that providers are relying heavily on casual staff in light of the variable income. This has major ramifications for the workforce and service quality. Clearly experience has shown that the relationship between the worker and consumer is critical. How this will operate with a casual workforce is something to monitor.

Third, the NDIS is very clearly a business model. This means a business-like approach in all aspects (hence the term consumer, not client). So, a cultural change for all involved.

UMFC is examining our position now for post October, seeing what current funding is ongoing and what options under the NDIS may be possible. It is a difficult time for not only our staff, given the uncertainty, but also our current clients as they wait to see what support, if any, they may be entitled to. It can only be hoped that this major change delivers what it promises, better outcomes for consumers.

We are pleased to announce that we have a new home and a new look!

Our main office is now located
at 27-29 Stanley Street, Wodonga

You can continue to use 1800 918 377 or
to make an appointment or obtain a referral.

Please note the following details have also changed:

Phone: (02) 6055 8090
Fax: (02) 6055 8079

Our fresh new look has been designed by Dutch Media and we look forward to the continual roll-out of our new branding over the next few weeks.

I wanted to inform you of UMFC’s position regarding the NDIS.

“UMFC is committed to providing services to people with a disability and is currently exploring how we could do this under the NDIS in a viable and sustainable manner, including all the necessary business practices associated therewith. We plan to announce if this is achievable by the end of March.”

You can check back here for updates:


or follow us for updates on social media:



UMFC Message for Victorian NDIS participants

We continue to support people with disability, their families and carers. However, we are not currently in a position to do so under NDIS. We will provide updates here and on social media once we know more.

You can search for NDIS registered providers here:

NDIS Website

UMFC Message for Victorians without NDIS packages

UMFC continues to provide supports to people with disability, are ageing or have dementia, and their carers and families. You can contact us using the form on this page, call us on 02 6055 8000, or download our brochures to find out more.

Help Support Local Families During Times of Need. Donate Now or Volunteer.


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.


UMFC acknowledges the support of the Victorian and the Australian Governments

Commitment to Child Safety

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.