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Capricorn Community Development Association is In the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 20th July 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> July -> Capricorn Community Development Association is In the Spotlight

Capricorn Community Development Association (CCDA) has as their mission statement Pro-actively working with the community since 1983. This reads as an understatement when delving into the work and passion of those who lead and are associated with CCDA.

The CCDA is an enigma given that they have intentionally made the decision to operate unfunded by government. They have opted to remain independent. The CCDA Committee is made up of local organisations and they act as a ‘mini peak’ for central Queensland. Run from capital gained throughout the years, the organisation funds activities and connections. “Our committee members get strategic connection to areas whereby they wouldn’t otherwise have connections. We’re not funded so we have no vested interest other than really being passionate about the wellbeing of children, young people, families and communities” says Sandy Paton, President of CCDA.

“Many of our organisations are fairly local and some have a state or national base. It is in organisations’ best interest to be a part of our organisation and gain the strategic information. We’re a member of PeakCare and the Community Industry Alliance as well as well as QCOSS and multiple other groups. We value these peaks and our strategic alliances. Through peaks such as PeakCare we gain pertinent information to share with our membership. These relationships are significant. All the relationships we engage in are important. Relationships are the backbone of community development.” Sandy is also proud of the work her organisation does in public education. CCDA holds community conversations where experts in the community talk about key issues and members of the public can access these skills to enhance their understanding of major issues.

Sandy and those involved in her organisation are avid advocates of community development and their passion for child protection and family support is a major part of their work. To Sandy child protection is one element required for a healthy community. She believes that every child and young person reaching their potential is key to ensuring a healthy community. Sandy further adds that she abhors child abuse and harm to those with disabilities. She is adamant that: “every child and young person has a right to reach their potential regardless of where they are born, the colour of their skin or any other factors that make life harder when they shouldn’t”.

As a community development organisation CCDA’s charter is to support the community to develop their own initiatives and solve their own issues through the provision of information, resourcing and support. Boasting approximately 700 members and contacts, CCDA is a significant conduit between services, peak bodies and government departments for the central Queensland region.

Sandy is clear that changes post the recommendations of the Carmody Report: Taking Responsibility: A Roadmap for Queensland Child Protection (June, 2013) have impacted shifts to the system including the funding of the Local Level Alliance (LLA) as well as shifts with regard to the Intensive Family Support system. She asserts that the intent of aiming to do intervention earlier in cases of child wellbeing instead of being ‘heavy handed’ is a more proactive approach. “That’s the aim and what seems to be happening at the moment. I’m seeing the beginning of workers in the system working with families to support them with their children and I’m hopeful about that panning out in the long term.”

Sandy derives her passion from her belief in community development work and her conviction about the importance of children and young people in our communities. She surrounds herself with equally passionate team members: “We can see we’re making a difference in the community and everyone on our committee sees the value in what we do. Everyone is committed and that is so positive and makes the efforts worthwhile.”

“At CCDA we believe you don’t have to be the boss but you do have to be a leader. Our organisation doesn’t stand on ceremony. Anyone who wants to engage is engaged regardless of their role in organisations. The information we impart gets to all levels of organisations”. Sandy is cognisant that all committee members and members of CCDA bring various skills and areas of expertise and all are valued. Their role is to share expertise and workload.

One of the greatest challenges for child protection in Queensland as Sandy sees it, is navigating the constant implementation of change. In doing so she states that it is essential that we are open about issues, evaluate problems as they arise and remain transparent and on track in keeping with values and intent. Monitoring and adjusting when needed to ensure flexible service delivery is important. Supporting families early is at the core whilst looking at all issues through the lens of trauma. “Throughout the last 30 years, the human services sector has been riding the winds of change. This includes an increasing number of service providers operating in regional areas; the introduction of quality assurance systems; the shift from funding to investing and from activity to performance; the move from outputs to outcomes and a range of other ongoing reform activities. CCDA has focused on providing information, tools, and resources which enable Central Queensland services to be sustainable in the long term and to deliver high quality outcomes for children, young people, families and communities.”

Whilst Sandy is clear that there are a small minority of people who harm with intent, she asserts that the vast majority of families who struggle are dealing with many issues including their past traumas and complex life circumstances: “Demonising them is not ok. We need to find the balance between understanding the issues they face and making sure no child is at risk of harm. We know most children return to their parents at their first opportunity when removed. So we need to take intervention very seriously.”

“I absolutely believe in connections with people.”

CCDA activities include:

  • Informative monthly e-newsletters, covering key operational and strategic issues of the sector
  • Daily emails that disseminate information on training, events, jobs and key issues
  • Community Conversations that offer the opportunity for people to engage in two way conversations with key strategic players in the sector – including departmental staff, politicians and community leaders
  • Short training and information sessions that address identified needs in the community
  • Submissions to both state and federal government on key strategic issues
  • Facilitating linkages between sector members where collaborative approaches can improve outcomes for service users
  • Providing an independent voice for the sector on matters associated with regional service delivery

CCDA offers partners and members:

  • Extensive local knowledge and insights of the human services sector across central Queensland
  • Demonstrated experience in community development practice frameworks and implementation
  • Membership and sector contacts of approximately 700 people, organisations and networks across the region
  • Membership that covers both strategic and operational staff of organisations in the human services sector
  • Capacity to host, promote and facilitate community engagement forums, interactive community conversations, workshops and information sharing sessions
  • The ability to easily disseminate information across a wide demographic and geographic area and to a range of organisations and services

All training and events are tailored to meet identified community need. Topics recently covered include: motivational interviewing; accidental counselling; sector reform; disaster recovery; outcomes reporting and the rights of people receiving government income support.

Capricorn Community Development Association is a long term registered supporter of PeakCare Queensland. If you are interested in becoming a PeakCare supporter please email Gary Roberts or visit our membership page on our website.

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