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Working for a better future and outcomes for our children

News

Hearing and responding to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people:

Establishment of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Council

Over the coming months, young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, aged between 14 – 25 years will have the opportunity to provide a voice and be representative on matters affecting youth through the establishment of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Council.

The Youth Council will provide a safe and secure platform for youth to speak up and provide their views on the issues that are affecting them. This Council will provide a space for youth to determine the pace with which issues are dealt with by seeking resolutions and support from people their ages; and further allowing representative bodies the ability to hear youth voices, and incorporate them in to their daily functions, strategic direction and policy influencing. The ultimate aim is to build and strengthen leadership, mentoring and capacity for strong, enabled and confident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland.

One of the key priorities of the Council will be to develop a Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Strategic Framework. This will provide a tool for the sector to commit to Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth achieving goals that are important to them, and that are meaningful and have long-lasting impact.

Supporting this important initiative, QATSICPP would like to thank The Benevolent Society for their generous sponsorship. The sponsorship will assist the council with establishing themselves in the first year. QATSICPP encourages and welcomes sponsorship from other organisations, to support the aims, purpose and directives of the Council into the future.  

For more information about the Youth Council, please do not hesitate to contact Sid Williams, the QATSICPP Training and Education Coordinator on mobile 0477701257 or email: sidneywilliams@qatsicpp.com.au

Since the last newsletter edition, Family Matters Queensland has been busy with progressing the current work priorities of the Family Matters Queensland Leadership Group. Our last meeting was held 9 November 2018.

Lead work priorities that we are carrying forward with at present include progressing with the work program around compilation and distribution of regionally disaggregated report cards, that will include measures which correlate to the scope of indicators included as part of the national Family Matters report. Earlier in 2018, Family Matters Queensland submit a data request to the Department of Child Safety Youth and Women (DCSYW) seeking to formalise an arrangement for compilation and release of quarterly report cards, disaggregated by Departmental planning regions. A follow-on meeting was held with Minister Farmer in August 2018, with representatives from the Leadership Group attending. Following on from this meeting, we are pleased to report that in October, we received our first round of data toward the commencement of the regional profiles. Formalising a structure and framework for the report cards and setting a distribution target date will be the next critical steps as part of this work program.

We have also been working to finalise the Family Matters Queensland self-audit tool. As noted in previous newsletter issues, Family Matters Queensland have developed a self-audit tool framework that is now in the process of being finalised to be a fully functional tool. The aim is to develop a clear and efficient self-audit process for organisational signatories to the Campaign to self-assess their current policies, practice, processes and programs against the Family Matters Building Blocks. It is now embedded in the Leadership Group Terms of Reference that all organisations signing up to the Campaign will need to complete the tool on an annual basis, once it is implemented. A working group has been formed from the composition of the Family Matters Queensland Leadership Group to help drive the tool’s next steps and formalisation.

We have also undertaken preliminary planning for a 2019 Family Matters Queensland Forum. Following on from the 2016 Family Matters Forum, which provided the foundations for the Our Way Strategy and Changing Tracks Action Plan, Family Matters Queensland are planning another Forum for 2019, as we approach the end of the first action plan of the 20-year strategy. We identify timely opportunity to coordinate a similar, active co-design process to look at where we have come from and where we are now, and what this means for the second action plan as part of the Changing Tracks implementation stage. Family Matters Queensland are coordinating with the Our Way Strategy Team to look at effective joint approaches for the Forum’s planning and delivery. We will be circulating the Forum dates once they have been secured. The event will run over two days again and similarly to 2016, involve active facilitated discussion that centres around the Family Matters Building Blocks.

The Terms of Reference have been updated so that individuals who have signed the Family Matters Pledge are now also eligible to participate as part of the Family Matters Leadership Group. If you have signed the Pledge and are interested in being involved, please contact Nadia Currie who can provide you with upcoming dates and details regarding the Leadership Group (nadiacurrie@qatsicpp.com.au).

It is also noteworthy that the annual Family Matters national report is set for release on 27 November 2018.This is an important annual resource that includes input from each jurisdiction. Keep an eye out on the Family Matters website for the report’s publication later in the year (www.familymatters.org.au).

The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Sector Workforce Strategy 2018-2023 identified that partnering with universities and relevant training organisations to embrace student placements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection services is a way to create new, innovative entry pathways to the sector.

QATSICPP are proposing to develop a Student Hub which is an educational and supervisory program to support social work students to undertake their placements within our sector. Over the past couple of months, we have been engaging with social work students, universities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection services to identify their interest and needs in the development of a Student Hub. All stakeholders were supportive and enthusiastic of the idea.

We are hoping to undertake a trial of the Student Hub beginning in July 2019 in South East Queensland. It is anticipated that within the first week of placement, students will undertake induction training hosted by QATSICPP, which will introduce them to the Practice Standards and the Supervision Framework. Additionally, one day each fortnight, students will be invited to attend a Professional Development Workshop also hosted by QATSCIPP. These professional development workshops will include additional training and information sessions, group supervision and a social and emotional wellbeing session. As part of the Student Hub, support will also be provided to supervisors.

The Student Hub has great potential to strengthen relationships between our sector, universities and emerging social work practitioners and it will also provide students an opportunity to work within our sector and to develop and embed their cultural practice framework.

Candice will be in touch with services in the South East Queensland region in February to identify those organisations seeking to host students in July 2019.

If you would like to know more details, please contact Candice Butler at candicebutler@qatsicpp.com.au

QATSICPP Senior Policy Officer

Where your mob from: Born in Eidsvold. Cobble Cobble people from Warra and grandfather Davis then settled in Hervey Bay in 1920s. Nanna was a Kanaka woman.

Name an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person that has influenced your life or encouraged to be the person you are? My father just for who he was

5 things I cannot live without: My partner, my children, my family, close friends and my health

What is your favourite flavoured ice cream? Rum and raisin

If you could have a drink with someone from history who would it be? And what drink would you have? Bourbon with Jimi Hendrix

If you could be an animal what would you be? Shark

What is your favourite season and why? Summer. Reminds me of being a kid on holidays and family gatherings

What do you miss most about being a kid? Swimming, fishing, snorkelling and being near the saltwater everyday, riding bikes everywhere, all year sport, catching up with heaps of friends and having heaps of family close by

What hobby or activity that you don’t do now but think you might like to do when you retire? Being a local at the lawn bowls club

What goes through your mind when your boss asks to talk to you privately? This could be either good or bad

What song do you love to dance to? Firestarter by the Prodigy still gets the heart rate up

You are required to be certified under the Human Services Quality Framework – what happens now?

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Introduction to the HSQF’ in the August 2018 edition of the QATSICPP newsletter. You can read it here.

In this next part of the series, we will go into a little more details about what it means when your demonstration method is determined to be ‘HSQF Certification’, how you can become ‘certified’, and some tips to help you navigate the process.

Just a reminder that your regional contract management teams, the HSQF team as well as the team at the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) are available to help answer any HSQF-specific questions you may have along the way, so make sure you reach out if you would like further support.

Depending on the amount of funding you receive from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors and/or the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (the departments) and the types of services you deliver, you may be required to achieve HSQF Certification.

Your organisation will generally have 18 months from when you first receive funding from the department/s to achieve certification – your regional contract officer can help you with finding information about what those requirements are and to plan out timeframes. QCOSS have a great range of supports available, including policy and procedure templates for your organisation to use, as well as opportunities for face to face support as you get ready to undertake your process.

Certification consists of a number of steps:

  • Your organisation engages a certification body and signs a contract/agreement to conduct your HSQF assessments (also known as audits). The contract outlines the roles and responsibilities of the certification body, your organisation and any relevant conditions such as confidentiality and notice of important changes in your organisation.
  • Your organisation develops/updates policies and procedures to align with the HSQF requirements for your services (you can find these requirements in the HSQF Certification User Guide).
  • Your organisation undertakes and submits a self-assessment to your chosen certification body – this happens prior to any onsite assessment happening and is an opportunity for you and your certification body to identify any gaps or improvement actions that need to be made before the assessors visit your services (you can find the template for the certification self-assessment here).

Initial Certification

  • The certification body will review your policies and procedures against the six Human Services Quality Standards (referred to as a ‘Stage 1 Audit’) to decide if your organisation is ready for the onsite assessment stage.
  • The certification body will then work with your organisation to plan the onsite assessment which involves sending an assessor (or assessment team, if you have lots of sites) to visit your sites (referred to as a ‘Stage 2 Audit’) to review how your policies and procedures work in practice (this includes talking with staff and management and reviewing your organisation systems, relevant documents and records), and talk with people who access your services about the services they receive.
  • Assessors use the HSQF Certification User Guide as the guide for what they will talk to your organisation about and what evidence they will look for when on site.
  • On the last day of the assessment, the assessors will hold a closing meeting with your organisation to discuss the outcomes of the assessment (including any areas that will require improvement if relevant) – you will not have to wait for your report to know what the outcome is.
  • Your organisation will receive a draft report to review – this is your opportunity to check that the assessors has accurately captured the outcome of the assessment, and the assessor hasn’t misunderstood anything. You will have an opportunity to provide feedback before the report is finalised and sent to the HSQF Team.
  • If your organisation has met requirements, you will be issued with your certification which is valid for a three year period.
  • However if your organisation has not fully met requirements to be issued with certification, your organisation will need to develop an action plan to address the issues raised by the assessor for improvement. The HSQF has a strong focus on continuous improvement – so if you don’t meet all the requirements straight away, there is time to fix issues and your certification body will work with you around all of this.

Maintenance

  • Approximately 18 months after your initial assessment, your organisation will have a mid-point ‘maintenance’ assessment, which will visit a sample of your sites and review a sample of the HSQF Standards (four of the six standards). This is a great opportunity to demonstrate how any improvement actions taken since the last assessment are working and to showcase additional improvements made by your organisation as part of the continuous improvement framework.
  • If there are any issues identified during your maintenance assessment which means your organisation is not meeting some requirements, there will be the same opportunity to address them as with the initial certification assessment. As long as they are addressed within timeframes worked out with your certification body, your certification will continue.

Recertification

  • 3-4 months prior to your organisation’s certification expiry, your certification body will conduct a recertification assessment. This will be across all six of the HSQF standards, and will visit a sample or all of your sites (depending on your service types). Your certification body will talk to you around what the requirements are ahead of the assessment.
  • Once again, if there are any issues identified during your assessment which means your organisation is not meeting some requirements, there will be the opportunity to address these – however as your certification expiry date will be coming up, you will need to make sure that the required improvement actions are taken, evidence provided and accepted by the certification body before your certification expires.

Some tips for getting started on your certification process

  • Make sure you have the initial discussion with your regional contract officer around what your timeframes are for gaining certification early on, preferably as part of your contracting discussions.
  • You should speak to as many of the certification bodies on the accredited certification bodies list as you would like to, to find whoever is best able to meet your needs – things to consider include your timeframes to achieve certification, your budget, the makeup of the assessment team and what approach the certification body will take.
  • As noted in the previous article, our main tip is to get started early as there are a lot of organisations that need certification, so the sooner you start talking with certification bodies, the better chance there will be of them being able to meet your needs including your preferred dates for the assessment.
  • Once certification has been issued, it is really important that your organisation continues to operate in the way that was presented and accepted by the assessor as well as continuing to address any outstanding issues. Observations raised by the assessor are an excellent way of further enhancing your services and embedding quality practice within your organisation. They may also help to proactively prevent future issues from arising.

QCOSS site: https://www.qcoss.org.au/ and Community Door https://communitydoor.org.au/quality-assurance/human-services-quality-framework (which has lots of free templates to use). You can contact QCOSS on 3004 6900 or request support using their Online Referral Form.

Next article – your demonstration method based on your funding and service type is ‘self-assessable’ – what does this mean and what are you required to do?

HSQF Team Photo Final 2018

Article provided by Sophie Tory, Principal Policy and Program Officer, Human Services Quality Framework, community Services Statewide, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

QATSICPP and Griffith University are excited to announce the commencement of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Practice Standards through Griffith University. Approximately seventeen staff from across QATSICPP’s member organisations have enrolled and will now commence their journey of study over the next 12 weeks (first block commencing on the 29th October 2018 with the last block finishing on 1st February 2019). QATSICPP congratulates these staff members and wishes them the very best in their studies.

Students will participate in online discussions and tutorials focusing on topics such as impact of past and current legislation and policies, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander child rearing practices, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principles, practice standards, supervision and practice frameworks. Students will also participate in a one-week residential school during week 7 (10th December 2018 – 14th December 2018) to be held at Southbank campus. The week will allow students to network and discuss in depth, topics covered, and workshop the practice standards, complete assessments and to learn and build upon their collective knowledge and experiences.

As this is a new course within the Graduate Certificate in Human Services, students and staff (Griffith Uni & QATSICPP) will be invited to participate in the course evaluation. This evaluation capture students & staff experience of involvement in the course; staff confidence in applying Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Practice Standards and staff perceptions of the influence of the course on achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and building a strong, sustainable and capable sector to deliver these outcomes.
For those that are interested in taking up this course in 2019, the benefits are:

  •  Building upon and enhancing your practice by using a culturally safe framework,
  • Embedding a culturally safe practice framework that will give confidence in our children, families and communities that the sector is providing a professional and culturally relevant service,
  • To build and strengthen networks within and across the sector,
  • Share and learn about the diversity of cultural practice frameworks,
  • Recognition, validation and application of cultural practice frameworks,
  • Recognition of work and life experiences through acquiring a formal qualification, and
  • Pathways to further professional development and learning.

An invitation to enrol into the 2019 course will be sent out in early 2019.

CQID Family Wellbeing Service had some positive outcomes for families associated with their service thanks to the quality of work implemented within the team.

Two families have recently had children returned to their care thanks to the in home, consistent support offered by workers Darlene Roberts and Emma Lennox.

Darlene supported her client through persevering in establishing a trusting and honest relationship with her client to allow her to implement Triple P in the home, advocate effectively for them at departmental meetings and referring and supporting the family to address some of their therapeutic needs. The family had their 2 children returned to their care 2 months ago and their youngest child just completed transition home.

Emma supported a mother who self-referred to our service and whose children are in long term care. The mother at the time was due to give birth in 3 months. Mother’s engagement with the service was positive due to her relationship with FWBO Emma and Emma’s ability to be honest with the client around her issues and vice versa. The newborn child was able to stay at home due to the intensive support offered by FWBO Emma up to 15hrs per week. As the mother progressed her levels of support were reduced. Mother and baby are no longer underneath Child Safety under an IPA and mother is seeking legal advice to have the LTG orders revoked to STG orders. FWB are also assisting in facilitating an additional contact between the children and mother in order to implement Triple P.

(article provided by Tamara Creamer, Manager CQID)

From November 2018, the new Family Participation Program (FPP) will commence throughout Queensland replacing the Recognised Entity program. The FPP will support the primary principle that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to self-determination and the right to quality services based on the implementation of the five (5) elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

It is important to recognise that this service is a resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and will work independently of the Department of Child Safety.

The primary focus of the program is on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children and young people under the age of 18 years, including those who are at risk of being subject of a child protection notification or who are already subject to intervention by the statutory child protection system.

The FPP will work together with parents, families and children to independently facilitate an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making (ATSIFLDM) process. ATSIFLDM is a process that gives authority to parents, families and children to work together to solve problems and lead decision making in a culturally safe space. This approach provides an opportunity to keep children safe in a way that optimises families’ participation and confidence in the process, while meeting any statutory requirements.

It is critical that this program supports the voice of our children and families in case planning and decision making to meet the identified needs and work collaboratively with partners involved in the family-led decision making process.

Keep an eye on our website for any further information as well as the contact details for the FPP service within your area.

  • Child Protection Environment

    53.7%

    of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were placed with a kinship or Indigenous carer.
  • Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak

    69,200

    There are 69,200 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children / young people in Queensland.