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Working for a better future and outcomes for our children

News

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited (Wuchopperen) has been providing a variety of parenting programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the Cairns region to develop parenting skills and reduce the prevalence of mental health, emotional and behavioural problems in children.

In 2018, Wuchopperen saw 29 families graduate from our key parenting programs including Circle of Security, Parenting Under Pressure, and Triple P. Each program focuses on a different element of parenting and the many challenges of raising children at various ages.

Lorna Baker, Manager of Wuchopperen’s Children and Family Centre says the parenting programs not only develop the confidence of parents, but also of the children. “We see huge changes in the families who participate in our parenting programs. The children are a lot more confident, and a number of our parents ask our educators for additional activities to do with their children at home.

The programs are all about creating positive relationships between parents and children and giving parents the tools to do this. The programs also provide parents with a support group of other people who might be going through similar issues,” says Lorna. Following the huge success of the programs focused on families run by Wuchopperen in 2018, 2019 is set to be a great year for Wuchopperen and our clients.

“Throughout 2018 we had to establish an additional playgroup to accommodate the number of families coming through Wuchopperen. It is really great to see the progress of all the families and how our team is able to cater to the individual needs of everyone who walks through our doors,” says Lorna. The team at Wuchopperen’s Children and Family Centre consists of Early Childhood Educators, Family Support Workers and Child Health Workers who can provide a holistic service to all our families.

This article is a reflective piece that will cover the Family Participation Program (FPP) Induction Workshops and Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making (AFLDM) training, primarily because I started back at QATSCIPP during the first week of FPP Inductions and it was a busy process to be a part of. The FPP Induction training was held in October 2018 at Rockhampton, Ipswich, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, North Brisbane and Cairns. The AFLDM-SNAICC Training closely followed the FPP Inductions in November-December, and QATSICPP also provided feedback to the Department on the FPP Funding and Program Guidelines in November.

During these busy three months, a few thoughts immediately spring to mind. Firstly, that the capacity of our sector is strong and ever adaptable, and this is evident in our willingness to work with the Department in what can often be very tight timeframes. Due to the nature of the funding process, services across the state were at very different stages of the FPP Program in terms of recruitment and development. However, all member services engaged in very healthy discussion and critique at all the workshops I attended, exploring issues such as how will the services run on the ground, how will reporting occur, the role of the independent person/entity, concerns regarding what ‘happens’ now some families won’t have access to a Recognised Entity and similar practice queries.

Overall, what was clear during the FPP Inductions were the voices of member organisations articulating the opportunity to implement the FPP program in a way that will honour the Legislative reforms, in particular the elements of the Child Placement Principle. It also goes without saying that during such discussion, issues of how the Department will now work and adjust to a program and process that is underpinned by self-determination, choice and voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were raised. This is because in theory the reforms represent a real shift in power in how the Department and further the Queensland Government work with our people.

QATSICPP’s feedback on FPP Funding and Program Guidelines provided to the Department further highlighted issues such as what checks and balances will need to be in place to honour FPP Family Plans, how referrals will occur and where and when should an AFLDM occur for a family. No doubt in the coming months (and years) it will ultimately be our Aboriginal and Torres Strait community who will observe whether the intent and process of the FPP are being truly honoured.

The AFLDM training facilitated by SNAICC followed throughout November and December 2019, was also another very busy period for all involved. The training itself was over 5 successive days and again whilst members were in various stages of capacity and this was understood, the sector again ensured that all workshops were well attended. I was fortunate to attend the AFLDM Training that was held at Ipswich and which had FPP staff from ATSICHS, Kummara, Mt Isa, Goolburri and Mununjali attend. Areas such as the Child Placement Principle, Family Mapping, building cultural authority, enabling childrens’ participation and working safely in the context of trauma and family violence were some of the content that was discussed and critiqued over the course of the training. Day four was a particular highlight, as this was when the services had to lead a practical demonstration/role play of working with a family using the AFLDM process. What was evident from observing the role plays were the range of skills that our sector has and are able to clearly articulate. Participants were able to talk through and demonstrate areas such as ‘how to’ clearly outline worries and facilitating a process; whereby families have voice and are and comfortable to ‘talk up’, how to engage families including those that may be deemed ‘difficult’ and how to manage communication with the Department (including when there is regular turn-over of Dept staff – which is often a very real issue we face). Other areas that make the AFLDM work on the day such as organising catering and transport for families was discussed.

Article provide by: Alf Davis, QATSICPP Senior Policy Officer

“BUILDING SOLID FAMILIES”

From 1 November 2018, the new Family Participation Program (FPP) commenced throughout Queensland replacing the Recognised Entity (RE) role. The South East Queensland Family Participation Program is delivered by Kalwun, ATSICHS Brisbane and Mununjali within their allocated areas, with Kalwun covering the Gold Coast area. The common goal of the service is to empower families to participate in decisions about their children at multiple points over the period of their engagement with the child protection system.

Kalwun FPP commenced on 1 of November 2018 and has an existing team of four; 2 x FPP Convenor’s and 2 x FPP Practitioner’s.  We have been fortunate to sustain a team of experienced Child Protection workers (previous RE workers) and have a balance of 2 x females and 2 x males.  To date we have successfully worked with 12 families.  We have found the transition for the families under the new FPP program to be more welcoming, accepted, inclusive and with ownership being embraced.

A key contributing factor to the success of the FPP is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Family Led Decision Making process, which is empowering our families to they have a voice, with a cultural emphasis on practice delivery (to our families) in a culturally safe way and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners in partnership with them.

The FPP 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.

  • Prevention - that a child has the right to be brought up within the child’s own family and community.
  • Participation - that a child and the child’s parents and family members have the right to participate in an administrative or judicial process for making a significant decision about a child.
  • Partnership - that Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander peoples have the right to participate in significant decisions under the Child Protection Act 1999 about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, including the design and delivery of programs and services.
  • Placement - that if a child is to be placed in care, the child has a right to be placed with a member of the child’s family group. 
  • Connection - that a child has a right to be supported to develop and maintain a connection with the child’s family, community, culture, traditions and language.

This service is a resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and works independently of the Department of Child Safety.

The FPP 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.

The aim of the program is to take a strength-based approach that is solution focussed and engages the family in providing a safe environment for the child. A relationship that seeks to understand and invites responsibility and resilience rather than blame.  A strength-based approach that acknowledges the positive aspects of the family and looks for exceptions to identified concerns. The goals of the intervention are developed with the immediate and extended family and other key identified persons.  The ATSIFLDM process facilitates shared decision-making involving children, young people, parents and families to develop family-based solutions that provide for the safe care and connection of children; “VOICE and CHOICE”.

Kalwun FPP endeavour to make a difference for our families under the umbrella of this new program by strengthening the “VOICE and CHOICE” of our families and ultimately building SOLID FAMILIES.

 Photo of the FPP team; from left to right; Vanessa Summers – CFSS General Manager, John Lui -  FPP Practioner, Tanya Blackhall -  FPP Convenor, Leiarna Dooley - Service Manager.  Unfortunately, we have two team members that are absent. 

IMG 1875

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.

  • 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.