As we move swiftly into November, we’d like to take the opportunity to reflect and update you on the highlights of October 2021 for the Fams team.
- Children’s Week was celebrated between 23-31 October. The national theme for 2021 was based on UNCRC Article 15: Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others.
Our CEO is the Chairperson of NSW Children’s Week Council and was thrilled that Patron and Governor of NSW, Margaret Joan Beazley, AC, QC was able to record a message acknowledging some of the challenges that children have faced in staying connected with family and friends as a result of the pandemic.
As Secretary of Children’s Week Council of Australia, Fams coordinated an online Question Time with National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds. A total of 18 children from across Australia recorded questions on issues that matter to them, and Anne recorded her response. You can watch the video here.
Our deep thanks to colleagues at The Deaf Society for coordinating children to sign the video, and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment for editing all the pieces together.
- Fams and Youth Action were excited to see over 100 organisations online in our forum with the panel of consultants funded by NSW Government through the Social Sector Transformation Fund to provide free advisory and information services to eligible small-medium NGOs. We strongly encourage you to investigate what free support you might be able to access through this time-limited initiative.
Remember to check out Building your Organisational Capacity, a simple resource designed to help organisations assess where they need to strengthen their capacity and prioritise the activities which can provide the most value.
- Still on the free advisory and information services, Fams is pleased that we are on ACWA’s panel to offer individual or group coaching opportunities to support you with:
- Data Exchange (DEX) set-up and reporting for TEI
- Measuring and analysing client and community outcomes
- Reviewing and/or developing tools and resources to support measurement
- Telepractice communities of practice.
Register your expression of interest directly with us. There are only a small number of spots left for this free coaching opportunity.
- Our CEO presented at Thrive 2021, National Permanency Conference, hosted by Adopt Change. The breakout session explored our Telepractice in family work study. All the documents related to the study are available on our website: https://fams.asn.au/research/. Fams’ team also participated in the full Conference.
- Fams was invited to the Stakeholder launch of the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse.
- The COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Taskforce continues to meet fortnightly. Work is underway to develop and agree on an Action Plan to enable a shared understanding of the phased approach towards an open NSW and living with COVID-19. It will emphasise and focus on what is important for children and young people and what the government and sector are doing to support children, young people, their families and carers as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The Action Plan frames milestones related to:
- Face-to-face assessments
- Supporting parents and carers in their efforts to prevent and safeguard impacts
- Increasing permanency
- Access to digital devices
- Assertive Outreach
The Child Wellbeing Strategies Sub-committee, chaired by our CEO, is also meeting fortnightly through to the end of the year.
- Unfortunately, political disruption in NSW meant Minister Alister Henskens was unable to participate in our In conversation with series. Attendees used the time to discuss workforce vaccination as Public Health Order restrictions eased.
- Fams continues to participate in weekly DCJ briefings with the peaks around emerging COVID-19 issues. We have advocated strongly for the fast release of guidance material to support organisations conduct the necessary risk assessments to operate in a post-lockdown environment.
- We are working closely with DCJ SSESNS District in the Preventing and Responding to ROSH Working Group which is looking at how more children get the right support in the right place at the right time. A sector forum was held and Fams is hopeful that meaningful collaboration between DCJ and funded services will drive the necessary systemic change.
- We participated in the whole of community consultations for the SWS Investment Approach for Social Impact Strategy.
The Investment Approach work is the result of the Tune review (2015) into Out of Home Care, and the recommendations made by the Auditor General following the conclusion of the Their Futures Matter (TFM) Reforms in 2020.
- Fams continues participation in the University of Sydney, Research Centre for Children and Families Supporting the Woman, Supporting the Mother Study Advisory Group.
- Fams continues to co-host with DCJ the Family Preservation Program monthly improvement Q&A.
- We continue to hear from you regularly through our fortnightly Practice Conversations.
Fams issued a media release after hearing NSW Budget Estimates evidence that a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy had been living in a motel for more than 300 days.
- Fams continued our project work with:
- CSOs in recovery.
- We also provided individual support to organisations on issues that matter to them.