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2011

Home -> Articles -> 2011

Engagement: 2012 New Year\'s Resolution

What will you do in 2012 to engage?...

Do As I Say Not As I Do

As a social worker and longtime social justice advocate, I have been carefully watching the Occupy Wall Street movement and related events. I am torn as I write this, between wanting to discuss the implictions of social media for social justice and social advocacy and also looking at the response to the Occupy Wall Street protests, which is actually a response to freedom of speech, the right to...

Foster Carers Speak Out About Transition From Care

Very pleasingly, Transition From Care Month 2011 was met with considerable media attention. Through several radio interviews and newspaper articles, public attention was drawn to the issues faced by around 400 Queensland young people who leave care each year.Even more pleasingly, foster carers elected to add their voice to our media campaign. In response to a column entitled &ldqu...

Swearing to aspire to...

“Be the change you want to see in the world." - GandhiWhat do Jimmy Barnes, Keith Urban, Hamish and Andy, Will Anderson and Hazem el Masri have in common? They’re all swearing and they are encouraging other men to do so too: Jimmy Barnes says all working men should swear Keith Urban says all country boys should swear Hamish and...

November is Transition From Care Month

For three years running, November has been celebrated as “Transition From Care Month”. It is the time of year when we are all asked to stop and fully reflect on the needs of around 400 Queensland young people who leave care each year. Very importantly, it is a time set aside for us to listen to these young people as they themselves tell us what they need to support...

AASW Conference was fantastic but where were the child protection workers?

Congratulations to the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) for conducting a well-organised, entertaining and highly informative Biennial Conference. Held in Townsville from 4th to 6th November, the Conference was incredibly well-attended and featured a range of high calibre keynote and session speakers.PeakCare Queensland was pleased to sponsor the Conference’s Welcome Cockt...

Don\'t Fence Me In?

I recently received some information about Queensland schools that I thought was very surprising. This information came from some members of the public who contacted PeakCare expressing their concerns about the absence of any legislated or administrative obligations requiring schools to be fenced.This was a surprise to me as I could not recall having ever seen a school that was no...

Cheaper to Medicate

“Children are one-third of our population and all of our future”-unknownThe overmedication of babies, children and teenagers is gaining more and more media attention both in Australia and around the world.The over prescribing of anti-depressant and antipsychotic medications in particular is becoming increasingly concerning. The decision to use of these drugs t...

A Risky Combination

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of.” ConfuciusOnce again, this week’s ABC Four Corners program has opened up avenues for discussion around the implications on society of poverty, this time in relation to premature birth. BBC documentary, “23weekbabies: The Price of Life” discussed the ethics of keeping premature babies alive....

Do you know about this?

Do you know who Pemulwuy and Tedbury were?Do you know when the first and only treaty was negotiated between British colonists and Aboriginal people and what became of this treaty?Do you know how many people were killed at Slaughterhouse Creek in 1838? Or during the Myall Creek Massacre in that same year? Or at the Cullin-la-Ringo Station near Emerald in 1861?Do you know when...

Heads in the Sand

“Inequality, rather than want, is the cause of trouble.” Chinese ProverbThe recent airing of “Poor Kids” on the ABC’s 4Corners program has opened up many avenues for discussion, particularly around the implications on society of financial inequality.The stories in the documentary, told by three British children living below the poverty line, give the viewer an...

Freedom of Speech or Racist Slander?

In a recent edition of PeakCare’s Enews, “In The Loop”, I commented upon a letter that I had sent to the Editor of the Sunday Mail in response to an article by Mr Andrew Bolt entitled “Very sorry state of affairs indeed”.After submitting my letter to the Editor, a finding was brought down by Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg that Mr Bolt had breached the Ra...

Pay Equity Chapter Two

Last week saw some tumultuous activity take place in relation to pay equity that culminated on Thursday with the repealing of the original Regulation of 4th August 2011.This should not be viewed as the end of the pay equity story however. It is far better to regard last week’s events as the closing of one chapter and the commencement of another.Throughout the week, PeakCare soug...

The Real Stories behind Paying for Pay Equity

At the start of this week, PeakCare Queensland wrote to our Member Agencies seeking to find out the “real stories behind paying for pay equity” so that we can properly represent these stories in our advocacy on their behalf and on behalf of the children, young people and families who are entitled to receive high quality services.Amidst the confusion of facts and figures being cont...

The Week that Was.

As Child Protection Week has now ended for 2011, it’s timely to consider the question, “Are the systems and services designed to protect our children improving?”The answer is a mixed one – many things have improved, whilst others have a long way to go before, as a community, we can feel confident that our children are being adequately protected.If we look back in ti...

In Defense of Families

“We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone’s eyes. Our definitions were as different as we were ourselves.” —Sarah DessenI’ve been thinking about the information which is disseminated and shared about family through the media, through profe...

Listen, Believe, Report.

Today is White Balloon Day. As the 15th White Balloon Day campaign held during child protection week annually, this day is about recognition, awareness and support for victims of child sexual assault.When Braveheart’s Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston spoke at the White Balloon lunch, she outlined some alarming statistics....

Do Tools Rule?

The Munro Review of the United Kingdom’s child protection system promotes a vision for “child-centred” practice where professional expertise in individualising the services to be provided to children, young people and families is properly valued.Underpinning the reforms recommended by Professor Eileen Munro were concerns about the UK’s use of “one-size-fits-all&r...

It\'s all about the sum of the parts, isn\'t it?

Amongst the range of changes to be made to the United Kingdom’s child protection system, Professor Eileen Munro recommended that there be a shift away from conducting inspections of individual organisations to police their compliance with various guidelines, rules and performance measures. In place of this, she recommended that an inspection system be created that allows for an exami...

When the tragedy of youth suicide strikes, will you know what to do?

During recent weeks, a series of articles byThe Australianhas shone a spotlight on the deaths by suicide of two teenage girls from Maryborough – both aged 16 – in 2009. Their deaths in such sad circumstances and at such a young age are, of course, a tragedy and our sincere sympathy is extended to their families and friends.The articles published byThe Austr...

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“Hookers, it seems, are the new social workers and they are demanding respect.”~Des Houghton, Australian Courier MailWhen you look at the image to the left, do you think “social worker”? No, me either. So it came as a bit of a shock when I received the link for a recent news article run in the Courier Mail entitled, Dark underbelly to sex industry spin and read Des...

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

“Whiteness in a racist, corporate controlled society is like having the image of an American Express Card. . . . stamped on one’s face: immediately you are “universally accepted.” — Manning MarableA while ago, my good friend and colleague, Di Harvey from the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak gave me a copy of...

E-Mail Trauma

“Careers are made or broken by the soft skills that make you able to handle a very large workload.“- Merlin MannRecently we did a quick poll about how people engage with our e-news letter. We were interested to learn that 33% of the people who receive our e-news letter, and have chosen to receive it, don’t have time to click the links. Now clicking the links o...

Solution: Suprise Visits?

It is important to consider that Professor Munro did not recommend the removal of all frameworks and systems for managing and monitoring service quality in the UK. What she recommended however was a shift in focus away from “compliance” to what “really matters” – that being, whether or not children and families are actually being helped.In particular, Profe...

Warning! Scaffold With Care

Interestingly, those responsible for implementing recommendations of the Munro Review within the UK are now concerned that when shifting away from an over-reliance on “guidelines, targets and rules” that they not “kick away the scaffolding” without safe transition plans in place.Follow along the discussion in the UK and have a read of the minutes of the Munro Review Im...

Guidelines, Targets and Rules, Oh My!

If we were to track back in time, some very good reasons could be found that explain why certain systems and processes were established in Queensland for ensuring the quality of services that children, young people and families are entitled to receive. For instance: The system of licensing out-of-home care services, arose out of recommendations contained within the 1998-99 Forde Inquiry in...

Is The Tail Wagging Queensland\'s Child Protection System?

Let’s think about key features of the United Kingdom’s child protection system that were criticized in the recently completed review conducted by Professor Eileen Munro and how closely they resemble the image of “a tail wagging its dog”. Then let’s think about Queensland’s child protection system and ask ourselves, “Is the dog still wagging its tai...

10 Ways To Jump Start Your Professional Development

“Education isn’t for getting a job. It’s about developing yourself as a human being.”—Liz BerryIn an ideal world child and family welfare practitioners would be guaranteed to receive quality supervision on demand and unlimited access to professional development opportunities. Obviously this ideal is not possible and many practitioners struggle to re...

Who Wins According to the Munro Report?

The recently completed Munro Review of the United Kingdom’s child protection system found that the “demands of bureaucracy” had become so great that the capacity of child protection organisations and their staff to work directly with children and families was being hindered. Practitioners and managers told the review that the demands of observing statutory guidelines, mee...

The Age of Independence

“Uncomfortable truths are revealed when the most powerless find their voice.”Debbie KilroyComing of age is a concept regarding a milestone and is usually synonymous with celebration. Most coming of age is filled with excitement, particularly when it involves children reaching adulthood. However, for many Queensland children who have grown up in state care, com...

The Munro Campaign: The Journey Continues

The journey so far…* On 8th June 2010, PeakCare Queensland launched “The Munro Campaign” to comprehensively examine the implications for Queensland of the recently completed UK Review of Child Protection conducted by Professor Eileen Munro.* On 15th June 2010, in a post by Lorraine Dupree, PeakCare’s Policy and Research Manager – “The Munro Campaign: The...

Combined Voices Campaign Continues!

The story of Combined VoicesCombined Voices is the story of a small group of people coming together to express their alarm about the increasingly high rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people within Queensland’s child protection system.It is the story of a small band of people joining together to share their grave concerns about t...

What does a British Bulldog and a Queensland Koala have in common?

Birth of the Munro CampaignIn June 2011, PeakCare Queensland commenced our Munro Campaign.Regular readers of Our Practice Blogs and Facebook will have already received some information about the Munro Campaign:...

What\'s Good For the Goose is Good For the Gander

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”- Robert KennedyAs our Acting Police Minister so eloquently stated today our Police Officers should be recognised by Queenslanders for their significant contribution to our community. Their role puts them at risk on a daily basi...

The Munro Campaign: Conspicuously Silent

“Silence is golden when it’s called for. Silence can be deadly when it’s not called for.”— Meryl RunionIn 2009 The National Framework For Protecting Australia’s Children was launched. The framework kicked off an Australian wide, call to action to better our policies, procedures and practices with vulnerable children, young people and their families. I&r...

The Difference Between Saying and Doing

To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I’m working on the foundation.Marilyn MonroeAre our child protection systems superstructures without a solid foundation?As we introduced theMunro campaignlast week we outlined that Professor Eileen Munro had extensively explored the experiences of British children, young people and familie...

The Munro Campaign

The Monroe Munro Campaign – it’s not about Marilyn! Or is it?Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was one of the most celebrated actresses of all time. Born Norma Jeanne Mortenson, she was almost smothered to death at the age of two, sexually assaulted at the age of six and spent most of her childhood in a sequence of foster homes and orphanages. At the age of 36, she was...

The Monroe .... emmm, Munro Campaign!

The Monroe Munro Campaign – it’s not about Marilyn! Or is it?Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was one of the most celebrated actresses of all time. Born Norma Jeanne Mortenson, she was almost smothered to death at the age of two, sexually assaulted at the age of six and spent most of her childhood in a sequence of foster homes and orphanages. At the age of 36, she was...

The Cost of Not Paying the Price ...

In March this year I wrote a blog post regarding pay equity, “The price we pay when we won’t pay the price”. I’m revisiting it today because this is the National Day of Action for Pay Equity that I alluded to in my former post. Whilst there have been a couple of significant changes, the issues of pay equity are still largely unresolved and need to remain...

Still Sorry!

As a part of the PCQ CEO’s Breakfast held last Thursday (26/05/11) on National Sorry Day, Lindsay Wegener gave the opening address, asking whether Australia is doing enough to stop racism.Below please listen to his address andif you would like to read more check out his blog post,‘National Sorry Day- Are We Truly Sorry’....

Baby Babes

“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It’s a girl.”—Shirley ChisholmEarlier this week, PeakCare staff were critically de-constructing a piece of current news. The article in question was from the Sydney Morning Herald, Tending to Children With the Bodies ofWomen. It definitely got me th...

Combined Voices Campaign

It was 26th May 2011 and a post, Are We Truly Sorry, was entered into PeakCare’s Practice Blogs about National Sorry Day. Sparked off by racist taunts that appeared on You Tube about a widely acclaimed recording artist and performer – a Torres Strait Islander woman – PeakCare called for our member agencies and others to stand with us in saying that we are sorry and...

National Sorry Day - are we truly sorry?

Thursday 26th May 2011 is National Sorry Day.Since 1998, this is the day of the year set aside for all Australians to collectively express our regret over the historical treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.This date was chosen in commemoration of the Bringing Them Home Report being handed to the Federal Government on 26th May 1997.I was recently browsing through Y...

Permission to Perpetrate

Whilst May as Domestic Violence Prevention Month is drawing to a close, domestic violence isn’t. Its impact costs millions of Australians significant harm and costs the economy billions of dollars per annum. Many would argue abuse of power is at epidemic proportions.Yet we continuously fail to adequately address it. Why is that so?Whilst I don’t have the billion...

Dancing With Myself

“No comment” is a comment.”—George CarlinI have been dancing ballet for a year and a half. I love it. When I want to practice at home I usually do so in front of glass sliding doors that lead onto the balcony of the apartment that I live in. I do this because I can see my reflection and the sliding doors become like a mirror. The problem is that I need to...

Talk To Me ....

“What’s the point of being alive,” she said, “if you’re not going to communicate?“—Kurt VonnegutWell, here I am at PeakCare – the new Executive Director who has a thousand ideas running around in my head with most of those ideas containing the thought, “We must do something about this or something about that!”As someone wh...

Sold! Now What?

I don’t want to write anymore about why we need to embrace social media. Boring… That’s old news.I’m SOLD.What I am interested in is the next step. How are we going to use social media to help marginalised people? In Peak Care’s context how are we going to help people to support children and families to prevent child abuse and neglect? How can human services...

Workplace Violence

“While it is clear that organisations must confront, understand and do all they can to prevent violence and its consequences, it is inevitable that community welfare professionals will often have to deal with situations where violence is a possibility or a fact. “~AnonymousIn the late ’80′s I was working for a women’s organization, providingtherapeutic&n...

The paradox of Social Media

Yesterday I sat down to write a blog post about the challenges of social media at 10:30 in the morning. By 4:30 I had written over 1000 words and I was no closer to finishing the post than when I started. Every challenge of social media I attempted to extrapolate had an equal positive spin. The more I wrote the more confused I became. The challenges of social media did not sit with me. Trying to...

Are We De-professionalizing Child Protection?

A week or so ago I wrote a blog post that discussed some of my concerns about the implementation of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. This week I want to share some of my critical reflection that has arisen as a result of the practicum project I have been working on. Lynn Barratt and I have been looking at recruitment and retention issues for the child and family...

The Good News About Social Media

A fortnight ago – Wow! Has it been that long already? – I wrote a blog post about whether or not the Human Services Sector is resistant to innovation. This week I am going to try and sell social media. Ready for my spiel?Ten Ways Social media could help the Human Services Sector to improve how we do our work...

\"New Media\", Old Media - How Do We Use It?

One of the cool features of WordPress blogs is a snazzy little feature, called “clicks”. You find it under your overall blog stats and what it does is allow you to see which links people have clicked in your post. I am usually reluctant to reinvent the wheel when I am writing and so, rather than writing massive posts, will attempt to link my reader into further information or s...

After We Leave

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation - Margaret MeadMargaret Mead makes an interesting point. The struggles of modern, Western families are further intensified by the lack of broader support structures and community in their lives. This also raises some inte...

The National Framework: Wolf In Sheep\'s Clothing?

I have had a great opportunity since starting my practicum placement with PeakCare, to look carefully at the National Framework For Protecting Australia’s Children. I started the learning process with considerable enthusiasm and interest, however, I found myself with increasing questions and concerns. I’d like to share my critical reflection with you in this post, and invite you to t...

Innovation Resistance

Social Media, it turns out, isn’t about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell. Social Media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led. ~ Seth GodinSocial media is being keenly disc...

Reinventing Feminism and Systemic Activism

I wanted to post this quick and quite interesting Ted Talk of Courtney Martin (of Feministing fame) who is chatting not only about the need for us to remain aware and conscious of inequity in our personal and professional lives – but also has something to say about systemic activism,disillusionmentand burn out. Have a listen and a think about how this conundrum translates into...

Where Have All The Social Workers Gone? Critical Reflection and Child Protection

“All efforts at self-transformation challenge us to engage in on-going, critical self-examination and reflection about practice, and about how we live in the world. This individual commitment, when coupled with engagement in collective discussion, provides a space for critical feedback which strengthens our efforts to change and make ourselves anew.” —bell hooksCrit...

Child Abuse and other Un-Natural Disasters

“All natural disasters are comforting because they reaffirm our impotence, in which, otherwise, we might stop believing. At times it is strangely sedative to know the extent of your own powerlessness.”~ Erica JongI have been very moved over the past weeks by the community spirit in response to the Queensland floods. It seems that our capacity for kindness and compassio...

Joining Up The Dots of Practice and Services

The current catch cry is for the service system to be joined up or integrated to better support families and children. If services are joined up what difference does this make to the work of the individuals working within that system?When we begin work with an organisation in community services we are told about client confidentiality, and the need to maintain client information i...

Professional Development: A Timely Idea!

“If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.”~ Brian TracyIt’s been a pretty exciting couple of weeks around PeakCare. Not only have we been coping with the aftermath of the flooding in Brisbane and Queensland wide, we have also been hard at work putting the finishing touche...