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Scientists have learned that neuropsychology, social cognition, and cultural factors affect decision-making. Two types of neuro-psychologically rooted bias can impact how we reason, infer and decide. Cognitive bias refers to heuristics, such as anchoring or confirmatory bias, which contribute to oversimplifying complex matters. Implicit bias refers to social attitudes that result in rapid, and involuntary assessments resulting from feelings and attitudes that operate out of our awareness or the lack of understanding of how people whose experiences are different may affect those inferences and decisions. This webinar will explore such biases and research-based debiasing strategies.

Learning Objectives

Attendees at this program will be able to:

  • Understand and manage the threats to fairness, impartiality and neutrality in family law work
  • Recognize the need to embrace complexity and consider all relevant family issues rather than a “single story”
  • Manage the impact of our own values, experiences, and feelings when formulating conclusions and making recommendations and decisions in family law matters

Presented on 13 October 2020, Philip’s webinar is available until 28 October 2020.

View Recorded Webinar

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Philip Stahl

Dr Philip Stahl

Dr. Philip Stahl is a forensic psychologist in private practice, living in Maricopa County, AZ, who provides consultation and expert witness testimony in child custody litigation throughout the United States and North America. His primary area of specialty is relocation, including complex international relocations. Dr. Stahl conducts trainings throughout the United States and internationally for attorneys, child custody evaluators, judges, and others working with high conflict families of divorce. He is on the faculty of National Judicial College in Reno Nevada, teaching domestic violence to judges since 2000, and he regularly speaks at state judicial colleges. He has been providing training through AU AFCC and other organizations in Australia since 2011.

Along with his teaching, Dr. Stahl has written extensively on high-conflict divorce and custody evaluations. He is the author of Conducting Child Custody Evaluations: From Basic to Advanced Issues, (Sage Publications, 2010) and Parenting After Divorce, 2nd Edition (Impact Publishers, 2008) and is co-author of Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony, (American Bar Association Section of Family Law, 2013).

His most exciting project has been his newest book, written with his daughter Rebecca Stahl, JD, LLM, titled, Representing Children in Dependency and Family Court: Beyond the Law, published by the ABA Family Law Section in June 2018.

PowerPoint Presentation

Decision making in the future

 

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In this one-hour webinar, Dr Rachel Carson presents on the key findings from the ‘Children and young people in separated families: Family Law system experiences and needs’ project, a qualitative study commissioned and funded by the Australian Government through the Attorney-General’s Department. The study aimed to investigate the experiences and needs of children and young people whose parents had separated and had accessed the family law system. This webinar explores the insights from participating children and young people about the issues that are important to them in making post-separation parenting arrangements as well as their experiences with, and reflections on, family law system services. Rachel also provides a snapshot of effective professional practice from the perspective of children and young people.

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department.

Members may access a recording of quotes from the Children and Young People in Separated Parents Study at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vaw_hVOoO8

 

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Rachel Carson

Dr Rachel Carson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

 

Questions and answers

Q&A

 

Our foster care team would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Vuly Play.

Vuly Play have very kindly donated an Ultra Trampoline to our foster care program. Not only are they great fun, keeping kids entertained for hours, trampolines offer many health benefits of outdoor play.

Foster carers make an enormous difference in a child’s life, giving a child the care and support she or he needs to grow, thrive and have a successful future. Generous support from community partners such as Vulu Play helps us strengthen families, and lets our families know that the wider community cares about and for them. Our carers do an amazing job, and these wonderful acts of kindness are a great way to help show our appreciation.

We are always in need of more families and individuals to open up their hearts and homes. Are you interested in learning more about becoming a foster carer?

Learn More

Vuly

Health Benefits of Trampoline Exercise

Did you know that trampolining is 68% more effective than your half hour jog?

On top of being great fun for kids (and adults too), trampolining is also good for:

  • Increased circulation
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Better core strength
  • Improved bone density
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Regulation of the metabolism
  • Increased muscle strength

Trampoline

Check out Vuly’s full range of trampolines, monkey bars, and other outdoor play equipment.

Visit Vuly Website

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In this 90 minute webinar, Robyn Bradey explains what vicarious trauma is, and gives practical strategies for managing it. She also provides extra strategies for working from home.

 

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Robyn Bradey

Robyn Bradey

Robyn Bradey (B.Soc.Stud.SYD.) is a mental health accredited social worker with over 40 years’ experience, 29 of those in private practice. She has been a youth worker, a hospital social worker and an administrator. Robyn offers professional supervision to a wide range of health, welfare and legal workers. She has been a counsellor, specialising in loss, grief, trauma, work related stress and injury. Since 2008, she has specialised in training, consulting and supporting the legal profession in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Robyn is currently working as a consultant and trainer for the Federal Court of Australia, the UK Bar and Inns of Court, the New Zealand Law Society, the Bar Association of NSW, the Law Society of NSW, NSW Community Legal Services and a large number of other agencies and organisations. She has written five books and numerous professional papers.

 

A group of local community minded women have formed a group call Border Sisterhood and have raised some much needed funds for UMFC.

A massive thanks for to Tracy Hicks, Steph Garoni, Tracey Wortmann, Kylie King, Karen Randall, Georgia Randall and Jan Bence for putting on such a wonderful event, raising an outstanding amount of $18,450 on the day.

For the full story click Border Cafe

 

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Foster care has been brought into the spotlight with the release of a new blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures, ‘Instant Family’. The heart-warming drama-comedy gives viewers an insight into the challenges of foster care and adoption.

The film stars Mark Wahlburg and Rose Byrne as a couple who choose adoption to start their family and quickly find themselves adjusting to life with three children. The movie follows the heartbreaking lows and hilarious highs of their journey into foster care.

We asked one of our former foster children who was ‘adopted’ into permanent care what she thought of the movie.

“I identified with so much of the film, especially elements of the children’s characters. Juan is afraid of doing anything that might make the family unlove him while Lizzie is guarded to the point of being aggressive. The ‘I’m not good enough’ story really does replay on a loop when you’re in foster care even when you’re in an ‘instant family’. I think the movie showed that foster care and adoption isn’t about being perfect parents to broken children, it’s just about being there to help repair some of that damage”.

U.S Writer and Director Sean Anders wrote the story based on his own experience adopting three siblings. He says he wanted to shed light on foster care and adoption, as these stories are not often told in mainstream entertainment.

“When I got involved in adoption, and I went to the orientation, and I went to the classes, and support group and all that stuff, I was unfamiliar with every step of that process. I had never seen it depicted in anything. And when I would tell people about how it all worked, everybody had the same reaction: nobody knew anything about it. I just felt that people need to understand this whole system better.”

While the movie is based on the American system, and has been put through the Hollywood lens, the themes ring true for foster care in Australia, Jeanine Aughey – Foster Care worker explained.

‘The movie was surprisingly accurate. It made me laugh and it made me cry but it also showed foster care with total realness. The training and support looks slightly different at UMFC but we cover the same things.’

‘there is a line in the movie where one partner says they aren’t ‘special’ enough to be carers and we always say it’s not about being a superhero, it’s just about being there.’

Foster care in context

The movie portrays the American foster care system and adoption, which differs from the context in Victoria.

In Victoria, the most vulnerable children from our communities rely on kinship (family) and foster carers to provide safety and security. The goal of foster care is to ensure the needs of the child are at the centre and to support the family of origin to stay connected. When reunification is not possible, long-term foster care or permanent care is in the best interest of the child as permanency improves security and stability. However, foster care is also provided on emergency basis, for a few weeks or months or as ‘respite’ to support other ongoing placements.

There is an increased need for foster carers in our region as UMFC is receiving more referrals for children to be placed in home-based care. You can read more about becoming a UMFC foster carer here, or make an inquiry about what is involved.

Thinking about fostering?

Send us an email fostercareenquiries@umfc.com.au or call us on 02 6055 8000 for more information.

Standards

Child Safe

The past week has seen the Board and staff engaged in important conversations aimed at strengthening our practice. On the 16/3/18 we participated in a forum on the Child Safe Standards now in force in Victoria. These standards are intended to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse by raising awareness at all levels across the agency. The seven standards cover a range of areas from policy, culture, recruitment, supervision to a workplace where concerns are raised and the voice of children are heard. (Click here to see the Standards.)

Aboriginal Wellbeing Cultural Competence

At the Board meeting on the 22/3/18 the Koolin Balit Aboriginal Wellbeing Cultural Competence Action Plan 2018-2020 was adopted. We are committed to improving safe cultural practice for Aboriginal clients, and enhancing service access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We articulate this commitment by including it in our Strategic Planning Pillars.

We are most grateful for the suport and guidance of former Board member Judith Ahmat in developing our plan. Judith Ahmat is a proud Gunditjmara woman and has been an active member of the Wodonga Aboriginal Community and across the Goulburn and Ovens Murray areas. Judith is currently the Director of Watnanda Consulting which specialises in Social research, Reconciliation Action Plans, and Aboriginal Cultural Competence.

It’s worth noting that at the Child Safe Standards forum, Aboriginal children were among the most vulnerable groups (along with children from a CALD background and those with a disability).

To see the Koolin Balit Aboriginal Wellbeing Cultural Competence Action Plan, click here.

To see our updated Strategic Planning Pillars, click here.

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A great night was had by around 200 people at the SSA club on Friday the 16th March. An evening of fine food and fun entertainment, capped by a successful auction to raise funds for UMFC kept everyone thoroughly engaged.

A big thank you to our major sponsors the SSA, Dutch Media, 2AY and all the businesses that supported the evening by attending and donating auction items. I know all our staff and Board members in attendance were humbled by the goodwill and contributions toward our cause.

Many thanks to great people like Scott Andrews, auctioneer extraordinary and outstanding MC, Kylie King, who worked hard all night to make the occasion the success it was. To see some photos of the evening click here.

Keith and Luke

Keith Marshall called into the office to drop off his annual donation to UMFC. Keith is a living legend at the Wodonga pool, where he swims each day, as he has for the past 40 years or so, completing his laps in a steady pace at the ripe old age of 93.

I got to know Keith when the pool was across the road from our Stanley St office. As a beginning swimmer Keith encouraged me to stick with it.

Over the years we often discussed social issues concerning families. One day he came in with a significant donation and has continued ever since. Although he is a man of modest means ( pensioner ) and lifestyle, he still makes a generous gift because of his concern for others. I know Keith’s life has had its own challenges but that doesn’t stop him worrying about other people.

Great communities consist of many people like Keith, humble, unassuming and quietly contributing in their own way. I find it energizing and uplifting to know local people like Keith support our work.

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

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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.

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.