Anglicare SA

Responding to the final report of the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission was the focus of an AnglicareSA oration and Flinders University research to practice seminar.

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman, who presented the oration, said his speech focused on some of the key areas of Justice Nyland’s report including prevention and early intervention, continuation of care, permanency planning and post care support.

“The Nyland report tells us what we have all known for some time – the system has been operating in crisis and the resulting 260 recommendations highlights the amount of work required to fix it,” Peter said.

“We know from the work of Professor John Lynch of Adelaide University that one in four South Australian children are the subject of a notification to Families SA. We need to work together to create a child safe South Australia, where all of our children can thrive.

“Justice Nyland points out that a range of early intervention/prevention strategies need to be developed so services are layered to meet the differing and diverse needs of families.

“We need to identify families in difficulty early because intensive support can better enable children to be safe within their biological families, and we also need to have swift, authoritative and effective assessments when it is unsafe for children to remain and when they cannot return.”

Peter said AnglicareSA is a strong advocate for permanency planning and greater rights for foster carers to will give foster children security and wellbeing and provide carers with greater input into decisions and better support.

“A strategy to avoid delay and drift in care and maximise the timely placement of children into a family for life, whether that be a return home or to live with another family, is a fundamental requirement of the new system,” Peter said.

“Foster care and kinship families are the lifeline of the out-of-home care sector, so we must be doing more in to respect, support and give parental rights to carers.”

Peter said he also used his speech to continue the push to support care leavers until the age of 25.

“The statistics for care leavers tell us that we are not doing enough to support their transition into adulthood and independence. We need to mirror what happens in the general community, where largely, we continue to support our children well into their early adult life,” he said.

According to Peter, it’s time for all sides of politics and the relevant sectors to work together and deliver change.

“Now is not the time to be playing politics with child protection. As a community we want the strongest, most supportive and effective system possible, but it is only achievable through a bi-partisan commitment that reaches beyond political and social agendas,” Peter said.

Following the oration, responses to the report were also be made by Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan who discussed the intersections of the report with current adoption issues and Associate Professor Damien Riggs who discussed carers’ concerns with the report.

The event was supported by AnglicareSA, Flinders University and the Australian Social Policy Association.

Click on the below link to read Peter’s speech:

P Sandeman speech – Response to the Nyland Report AnglicareSA Oration 24 10 16

During September, the AnglicareSA HIPPY program staff and participants celebrated national HIPPY Week in the southern suburbs.

What does HIPPY stand for? Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (www.hippyaustralia.bsl.org.au).

Around 40 families in the southern suburbs are engaged in the HIPPY program – a two-year, home-based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children.

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HIPPY provides kids with a structured, education-focused program that lays the foundation for success at school. Parents teach their child literacy, numeracy and language skills as well as physical skills so they are school-ready and develop a love of learning that lasts.

HIPPY supports parents in their role as their child’s first teacher. The program targets communities that experience various forms of social disadvantage. Home tutors who have been recruited from the local community work with parents as peers over two years during the critical period of the child’s transition to full-time school. HIPPY aims to ensure children start school on an equal footing with their more advantaged peers. It also works to strengthen communities and the social inclusion of parents and children.

AnglicareSA reviews with HIPPY parents in Week 5 of the program.  Here’s what they discovered:
o All children involved the HIPPY program are now being read to
o 88% reported an improvement in the relationship with their child
o 95% agreed HIPPY had taught them about how their child learns and grows
o 76% said HIPPY had helped to connect them with their community
o 84% said HIPPY had taught them about useful groups and organisations in their community.

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Background:
An estimated 500,000 children (12 per cent of the total) are growing up in poverty in Australia, which is roughly in the middle of the range of all OECD countries in terms of the percentage of children living in poverty. Analysis of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) reveals that 23 per cent of Australian children in their first year of full-time school have been assessed as developmentally vulnerable on one or more of the five school readiness developmental measures of the AEDI and that there are higher proportions of children who are developmentally vulnerable living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities (DEEWR 2009).

There are limited positions available for this FREE program. For more information please contact your AnglicareSA HIPPY Coordinator.

Elizabeth Grove – Laura Romeo – (08) 8209 5743.

Onkaparinga – Steph Ashby – (08) 8186 8942.

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The Brotherhood of St Laurence holds the licence to operate HIPPY in Australia. The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Social Services.

AnglicareSA has supported the State Government’s response to the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission which places the highest priority on the interests of children.

CEO Peter Sandeman said the four-year, $432 million commitment will go a long way in helping deliver many of the necessary reforms to create a new child protection system that will ensure the state’s most vulnerable children get the support they need and deserve.

“We have long been advocates of ensuring that the best interests of a child under the guardianship of the Minister are at the forefront of all considerations and we welcome this being recognised in the draft legislation,” Peter said.

“A new Act that requires every person, service and organisation to demonstrate that their policies, practices and decisions that affect children are purely based on what’s best for the child is essential.

“The proposed changes will hold the State Government and agencies like AnglicareSA accountable when it assumes parental responsibility. We should all be held to account, but in the past this hasn’t always been the case.”

Peter said he welcomed the commitment in delivering Justice Nyland’s proposed Child and Family Assessment and Referral network, regionally located and based on identified community need, trends and patterns.

“We would support a new network where less urgent notifications that don’t require an immediate response would be managed and responded to by this network and overseen by a non-government organisation,” Peter said.

“However the network warrants more discussion and thinking around the initial referrals process, including who manages the assessment and decision about what level of risk a situation presents. Our view is that these are professional and expert decisions which should be implemented accordingly.”

Peter said he was also pleased to see a focus and investment in much-needed early intervention strategies, which will ultimately reduce and prevent children from entering the system.

“Ideally the best outcome for a child is to be in a supported, safe and stable family environment and focussing on strengthening families must be a priority of the system,” Peter said.

“We need to reduce the number of children in residential care and better support our foster and kinship carers, who in the past have been the behind the scenes heroes lacking the rights and recognition they so thoroughly deserve.”

AnglicareSA also welcomes the recognition that young people leaving care often need and seek supports beyond 18 years of age in line with what generally happens in our community.

As part of the engagement process AnglicareSA will review the draft Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2016 and provide comment.

AnglicareSA has welcomed the Federal Government’s $100 million package to help combat domestic violence.

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Jackie Howard said increased government funding is vital in combatting violence against women and children.

“We’re hearing and seeing increased instances of cases where domestic violence is occurring, which highlights the need for integrated programs and educational initiatives to be adequately funded to respond in a timely and appropriate way.”

Federal Government figures show that one in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner, and 63 women have been killed so far this year.

“These are just the cases we know of, but there are countless other cases where women and children are too afraid to speak up or can’t access the help that they need.”

“AnglicareSA provide support to over 500 families annually through a variety of programs engaging victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence, and funding plays a critical role in managing these programs.

“Having coordinated legal, social work and cultural liaison services in a single location means that those who need these services have much easier access to them in the one spot which will ultimately lead to better service delivery. The $15 million of funding is a step in the right direction to achieve this.

“We also welcome the $14 million expansion of the DV-alert programme which will ensure that those on the front line are equipped to provide the help and support that is desperately needed.

“Today’s announcement allows for a much needed increase in tools and resources to help combat domestic violence.

“It will ensure increased capacity to better manage and offer services, while at the same time raise public awareness and encourage those who experience or witness domestic violence to come forward and seek help.”

Safe communities will be realised through increased awareness and understanding of violence and its causes, a shared vision held by communities for safe and respectful relationships, and swift and appropriate responses when safety is violated.

 

Home Intervention Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)

Help your child develop, build relationships and encourage their learning by becoming a HIPPY family

  • Are you a family living in the Elizabeth Grove area or Onkaparinga?
  • Do you have a child, grandchild or are you caring for a child in the year before they start school (approx 4 years old)?
  • Do you want to prepare your child for school years and life time learning?
  • Would you like to build their self-esteem and confidence in learning?
  • Do you want to provide opportunities to enjoy and extend your child parent relationship?
  • Do you want to be more involved in your child’s learning and development?
  • Do you want to understand more about how your child learns?

HIPPY is a two year, home-based early learning and parenting program for families with young children. HIPPY contributes to children making a successful transition to school and is delivered by trained tutors. Parents are invited to attend fortnightly parent groups.

Parent Groups

  • Offered once a fortnight to practice new activities
  • Crèche available with approved Childcare worker
  • Be creative / learn a new craft
  • Learn a new skill with visiting speakers

For more information please contact your AnglicareSA HIPPY Coordinator:

Elizabeth Grove – Laura Romeo: (08) 8209 5743.

Onkaparinga – Steph Ashby: (08) 8186 8942.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Social Services. The Brotherhood of St Laurence holds the licence to operate HIPPY in Australia.