TWO WAY BENEFIT
The Mura Kosker & Benevolent Society Partnership
Mura Kosker Sorority Inc. has been working to support and champion Torres Strait Islander women and children for over 30 years. In January 2019, the Mura Buai Family Wellbeing Service began delivering services across the Torres Strait Islands. The establishment of Mura Buai was made possible through the policy reform of the Queensland Government, a partnership with The Benevolent Society and strong, committed leadership from Mura Kosker.
The Queensland Government’s ‘Our Way, A Generational Strategy’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children 2017-2027, was modelled on the Family Matters Building Blocks and mapped a path for transformational change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families and concrete action to build the community controlled sector, in a public and principled way. Under ‘Our Way’, $16 million (2017-21) was committed for 33 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing programs to be delivered by community controlled organisations, in a co-design process between the Queensland Government and Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP).
For the first time, the functions of the existing family support programs were combined into one community-run family wellbeing service. When the tenders went out in 2017, the opportunity was there for a Torres Strait organisation to put its hand up to deliver this new model across the islands. Mura Kosker recognised the potential of the wellbeing service model. Whilst the tender requirements were flexible, Mura understood early that they would need a mainstream partner to assist the tender process and provide specialist services in the new model. Negotiations on a partnership arrangement with The Benevolent Society were begun despite considerable community resistance to what many saw as the undermining of Torres Strait Islander’s self determination. Mura Kosker managed the situation with strength and transparency and a formal partnership with The Benevolent Society was agreed in October 2017.
The partnership was a key factor in the success of the tender for the wellbeing services. Under the agreement, Mura Kosker had responsibility for funding, management and staffing, with The Benevolent Society delivering specialist support and capacity building to the Mura Buai team. The partnership between Mura Kosker and The Benevolent Society provides a model for other organisations seeking to grow and support the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled sector.
In 2019, the Mura Buai team had 9 full-time employees including caseworkers, intake and referral officers and managers and includes three Benevolent Society service specialists. Mura Buai delivers services to 14 islands within five clusters throughout the Torres Strait. In this report, the leading players tell the story and highlight the key decisions, innovations and actions taken by each party to make the partnership a reality.
Adhapadhay Eso! (Western Is dialect)
Au Esoau! (Eastern Is dialect)
Thank you very much!
Read the whole report
Calling for a national commissioner
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children and young people
In November 2019, SNAICC and Family Matters
launched a joint position paper
calling for the establishment of a national commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
Already, more than 130 organisations have signed on to endorse the call. It has also been supported by a number of state and territory based commissioners and guardians for children.
Too often, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people fall through the cracks between the federal and state and territory governance systems.
A properly resourced national commissioner would play an important role in supporting strategies for more effective collaboration and coordination between and within governments.
The commissioner would also have powers to investigate and report publicly on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
To find out what you can do to support and endorse the position, click here: https://www.familymatters.org.au/whos-with-us/join-our-call-for-a-national-commissioner-for-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-children-and-young-people/
Read the position paper here
The Family Matters Report 2019
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in the child protection systems across Australia continues to escalate at an alarming rate, reveals The Family Matters Report 2019.
Launched on 17 October at Old Parliament House on Ngunnawal Country, Canberra, the report also shows a growing trend towards permanent placement away from their families and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to experience high levels of disadvantage.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 37.3% of the total out-of-home care population but only 5.5%of the total population of children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now 10.2 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children.
“If we do not change our course of action the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than double in the next 10 years,” says Family Matters Co-Chair Richard Weston.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are seven times more likely to be on a permanent care order until 18 years. They are at serious risk of permanent separation from their families, cultures and communities.”
Queensland is showing commitment to reducing the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families within the child protection system. Queensland has the lowest rate of over-representation in out-of-home care nationally, and continues to progress a number of reforms.
Queensland is supporting the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities with the implementation of the Our Way Strategy and Changing Tracks Action Plans, acknowledging families and communities are the best source of cultural knowledge.
Queensland is making efforts to embed the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (prevention, placement, participation, partnership and connection), with investment in 33 Family Wellbeing Centres and 13 Family Participation Programs delivered by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations. Services receive training and implementation support through the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP).
Recommendations from the report calls for more investment in quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled integrated early years services through a specific program with targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and high levels of disadvantage.
Queensland is delivering family-led decision-making statewide but more work is needed to ensure families can access the service at all points of the child protection continuum.
Family Matters Co-Chair and CEO for QATSICPP, Natalie Lewis says the report reveals poverty and homelessness as having a profound impact on children being removed from their home. Nationally, nearly one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householders are almost twice as likely to experience rental stress.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience disadvantage across a range of early childhood areas, are more likely to be developmentally delayed at the age of five and attend childcare services at half the rate of non-Indigenous children.”
“We stress the need for an increased investment in prevention and early intervention to redress the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. Consistently, more funding is invested in child protection services than support services,” says Ms Lewis.
The Family Matters Report 2019 Snapshot data:
The Family Matters Report 2019 - Important links
For the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kinship Care Program
Candice Butler, QATSICPP Manager Practice Development has recently drafted an Options Paper for the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kinship Care Program.
The Options Paper is a first step in structuring and supporting discussion about how kinship care for Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland is designed, planned, procured, delivered, contract managed, and reviewed.
The new program will represent a shift from cultural advice to cultural authority and recognises that a Kinship Care Program is central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Organisations independently designing, delivering and managing kinship care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
From the outset, it is important to state that the paper seeks to recognise distinctions between Aboriginal kinship structures and Torres Strait Islander customary child rearing practices and traditional adoption practices, and how these differences should influence the program description.
However, it is envisaged that a Kinship Care Program will be a program that can be delivered to Aboriginal kinship carers, children and families, and to Torres Strait Islander kinship carers, children and families.
The paper identifies three options on a continuum of change are identified. The first option describes a ‘no change’ approach. Option 2 proposes designing and delivering kinship care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children as a dedicated sub-program of Foster and Kinship Care. Option 3 proposes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kinship Care Program that is independently designed, delivered and managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-controlled Organisations (community-controlled organisations).
Input is sought about the objectives and bottom lines for kinship care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, local factors that impact on considering each option, and risks for children and families of each of the options.
Community-controlled organisations that provide or work with children and families at risk of or subject to statutory child protection intervention will be consulted about the objectives, bottom lines and options. Departmental feedback on the options will be sought through the Connected to Kin, Community and Culture Project team.
Following these consultations, a report on the findings will be provided to the Queensland First Children and Families Board for their consideration, endorsement and liaison with the Director-General, Department of Child Safety Youth and Women.
If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Candice Butler
My Student Placement with the
Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP)
Hi, my name is Madeline Winzar and I’m a third-year social work student at the Queensland University of Technology, who was delighted to accept an opportunity to work alongside the team and fellow student, Georgina McKay from Griffith University, at QATSICPP for four months until November 2019 . Working at QATSICPP was my first social work placement, and towards the beginning of my experience I hadn’t yet considered working within the child protection sector, so the prospect of doing this within a space that has such a strong community led approach to social justice excited me! My primary goal was to learn more about the ways in which social workers can help to provide advocacy and develop policies, strategies, programs and resources that support the capacity of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, as we all work towards protecting children, families and communities.
Whilst at placement I had a variety of opportunities to learn from the team, develop my own skills as well as actively engage in developing my emerging practice framework. Highlights included assisting with Family Led-Decision-Making training with Sid Williams, Candice Butler and Eva Ruggiero at the Queensland State Library. We not only were able to provide this to fellow partner organisations, but to various members of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women from across the state. Understanding the different issues that arise in each of these separate support services was very interesting and useful!
Another highlight was presenting at the QATSICPP Community of Practice, where I was able to share with our partner organisations, a literature review Georgina and I had been working on as apart of our ‘Know Your Rights Kits’, for legal professionals, practitioners, families and children. These kits aim to provide information and contacts relevant when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, drawing from the most recent amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999.
I’m really proud of the work, skills and knowledge I have gained through writing the legal professional and practitioners kit, and how this will impact my future practice framework and perspective. Visiting various agencies around Brisbane, yarning with other practitioners and the team here at QATSICPP has also been an invaluable way to learn. From placement, I have gained a passion for advocacy, and a desire to work with families in order to emphasise the strengths and skills community has to keep children safe.
I’ll always cherish my time at QATSICPP and will greatly miss the team who have made me feel so welcome over my journey. I and would especially love to thank Candice Butler, for her supervision skills, as well as the time she has given to myself, and the QATSICPP Student Hub. The Student Hub brought together three other students from different organisations in the child protection sector, and gave us all a safe space to critically reflect on our experiences.
Thank you QATISCPP for having me! And I look forward to working along side this amazing organisation throughout my social work journey.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Family Led Decision Making
Youth Justice Trials 2019-2020
The QATSICPP Board and its Members have in recent years identified youth justice issues as a key area for both an increase in strategic services and advocacy to assist with the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. This leadership and advocacy resulted in four (4) QATSICPP Members being selected to participate in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making trial. The trial commenced in July 2019 to support Family Led Decision Making for young people who come into contact with the Youth Justice system and will wrap up in June 2020.
Des Rogers is engaged as the QATSICPP Youth Justice Implementation Officer to liaise between the Department of Youth Justice and the trial sites. This has entailed assisting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making training for our Sector, attending training and key information sessions regarding the trial at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre. Furthermore, Des facilitated the first Community of Practice for the trial sites in early November.
The four (4) member services participating in the trial are ATSICHS Brisbane,Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Co. Ltd., Kurbingui Youth Development Association, and Wuchopperen Health Service. The government chose these trial sites due to high number Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Youth Justice court systems and the existing operation of Family Wellbeing Services in these communities.
Youth Justice has been undergoing significant reform in recent years which has resulted in initiatives such as the Atkinson Report of 2018 which, among other issues, advocated for 'four pillars' of better intervention and prevention for all youth and strongly recommended better use of Indigenous communities, Indigenous services and better early intervention to address issues such as over-representation. During the reform process, ATSIFLDM has been identified by Youth Justice as a potentially key initiative for prevention, diversion and better relationships with our young people hence the commencement of the trial.
Trial sites can receive referrals from their local Youth Justice services as well as self-referral from the community. Other key agencies such as police and magistrates can also identify young people to be part of the trial. Importantly the trial enables the services to engage the young person, as well as their broader supports within their family. In addition, the trial site services can identify and coordinate a broad range of supports such as health, education and housing to assist the young person.
As of February 2020 the four trial sites (ATSICHS Brisbane, Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Co. Ltd., and Kurbingui Youth Development Association) and Wuchopperen Health Service have been taking referrals, engaging young people and facilitating family meetings. To date, a total of eighty-eight (88) referrals have been received over the four (4) trial sites.
All four (4) trial sites have done a great job in recruiting and implementing the new program in such a short timeframe.
QATSICPP is also managing an evaluation of the whole trial, in which “Inside Policy” have been engaged to complete.
We look forward to providing further updates regarding the trail in the months to come.
Article provided by Des Rogers, QATSICPP Youth Justice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Justice Project Officer. If you would like more information, please email Des
The National Redress Scheme in Queensland
The Queensland Government is participating in the National Redress Scheme which is in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) provides support to people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Queensland institutions including in missions, dormitories, residential care, children’s homes, schools, churches, foster care, health services and youth detention centres.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual abuse as a child in an institution you may be eligible for redress under this Scheme.
The Scheme will provide access to - a redress payment, up to 20 hours of counselling and psychological care (and more if required) and the option to receive a Direct Personal Response, for example a culturally appropriate apology from the responsible institution.
Many institutions have already joined the Scheme, including the Australian Government and all state and territory governments, and many of the major churches and charities.
The Queensland Government is working with the Scheme to encourage all non-Government institutions, including organisations that ran missions and dormitories, to participate.
You can still apply to the Scheme even if the institution is not listed on the National Redress Scheme website. The Scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years.
There are support services available to help people through the redress application process, including specialist services that provide counselling, healing and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Link-Up (Qld) and the Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care (RAATSICC) Advisory Association can explain how the Scheme works and help you apply. knowmore can provide free and confidential legal support.
For further information about the National Redress Scheme
call 1800 737 377.
To search for institutions that have joined the Scheme visit https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/institutions
If you can’t find the institution you are looking for call the National Redress Scheme on 1800 737 377.
can be contacted on 1800 200 855.
The Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Child Care (RAATSICC
) Advisory Association and can be contacted on 07 4030 0900 and 1300 663 411.
is a free, confidential and independent legal service and can be contacted on 1800 605 762.
2019 – the year that was - and changes coming...
We hope you enjoyed the four previous articles in the Human Services Quality Framework series:
2019 was a big year for Queensland organisations working in the human services area. With the rollout of the NDIS and the transition of services and clients to the NDIS, as well as organisations progressing through HSQF - there has been lots of activity!
HSQF Team would like to firstly thank QATSICPP for the opportunity to connect with the sector through this newsletter series, and to sincerely celebrate the efforts and achievements of organisations delivering human services in Queensland in 2019.
We’d like to make particular mention of the massive efforts of over 33 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations which have either achieved their initial certification, or continued to maintain their certification, since early 2018. We know that a lot of time and effort goes into preparing for and achieving certification and that it takes commitment to ensure those quality practices are embedded into ongoing practice and service delivery.
2020 will see our team continue to administer HSQF and to develop resources to assist organisations to meet their obligations under the HSQF.
The HSQF Team has published updates to the HSQF Quality Framework
and HSQF User Guide – Certification
. The most significant change to the HSQF User Guide – Certification
will be the inclusion of requirements related to the Human Rights Act 2019
which comes into force from 1 January 2020 (further information around the Human Rights Act 2019
is available at www.qhrc.qld.gov.au
Some updated documents can be located as per below:
There will also be updates made to the resources for self-assessable organisations and other HSQF resources. Organisations will be advised when changes applicable to them are available, but you can also get the latest news and resources on our website at www.communities.qld.gov.au/industry-partners/funding-grants/human-services-quality-framework
Once again the HSQF Team look forward to working with the team at QATSICPP and all members in 2020!
My Placement Experience at QATSICPP by Georgina Mackay
I am a mature aged student, currently completing my final placement as a social work student from Griffith University at QATSICPP. I was drawn towards studying social work as I am passionate about helping people. I believe that everyone should be treated equally, and I strongly believe that we exist in balance with the environment and we can all work together to change the social structures, poverty, behaviours, values and attitudes that are contributing factors to oppression and social exclusion.
I have truly loved my time at QATSICPP, especially working in a team environment where I have received heaps of support and encouragement. I have also been very priviledged to have Candice Butler (QATSICPP Practice Development Manager) as my supervisor over the duration of my placement. Candice has been absolutely fantastic, providing endless amounts of support, supervision and learning opportunities.
My placement project involved developing two (2) individual QATSICPP “Know Your Rights Kits”, one for children and the other for famillies when they come into contact with Department of Child Safety. This piece of work has allowed me to understand the recent amendments to the Child Protection Act and the types of resources needed to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families so that they know what their rights are when coming into contact with the Department.
I also had the opportunity to participate in the QATSICPP Practice Standards and Supervision Framework training and the Family Led Decision Making training, which I found were invaluable.
I have also, enjoyed my participation with the QATSICPP Student Hub, getting to hear about the other students experinces in their different roles and attending agency visits to other organisation gaining an understanding of their roles and services they provide.
I am leaving this placement with a strong cultural awareness and sensitivity of the cultural influences and ideologies through knowledge of customs, beliefs, the past wrongs and the social disadvantages that have occurred to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. My learnings from QATSICPP will always be a part of my practice and I will always aim to make changes for the better and bring awareness of culture knowledge for our most vulnerable.
Thank you QATSICPP team for being fantastic and making my learning journey incredibly amazing.
Family Matters National Week of Action 18-24 May 2020
, Australia’s campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture, is planning for its annual National Week of Action this May.
During the week of 18-24 May, we encourage you to show your support for the campaign.
Community empowerment and human rights lie at the heart of the Family Matters campaign. Holding a National Week of Action event gives you an opportunity to bring together Elders, community leaders and members to drive local change, inform and empower families and call on Governments to act.
You can also promote the campaign at staff or interagency meetings, link people to the campaign’s website and social media pages (Twitter
) and celebrate success stories of keeping children connected to family, community, culture and country.
Please save the dates 18-24 May and keep an eye on the Family Matters website
for the announcement of this year’s theme and resourcing to support you to promote the campaign.
Connect with Family Matters Queensland Campaign Coordinator, Eva Ruggiero
for more information.
Publications and Resources
- Early intervention could avoid $15bn of services in Australia. National Early Years Summit: More
- 62% of Australian parents report difficulty balancing work & family responsibilities. Parents at Work: More
- Redesigning the workplace to be family-friendly: What governments and businesses can do. UNICEF: More
- Finnish EU president is championing ‘economy of wellbeing’. So how do children fare? SE: More
- Engaging fathers in parenting programs, theory to practice recommendations. Emerging Minds: More
- Supporting children who experience cumulative harm. Emerging Minds: More
- Parenting opportunity in the pre-teen years. CFCA: More
- NT Care & Protection and Youth Justice key indicators fact sheet. NT Govt: More
- Organisational priorities of NFP Boards sometimes forget to put the client first. SVA: More
- How to influence employers to help improve the one in eight UK workers stuck in poverty. JRF: More
- US Surgeon General seeks to shift education lens from what's wrong with you? to how can we help? through trauma assessment. The Sector: More
- Key findings of Out of the shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse & exploitation. EIU: More
- Serve & return guide: responsive interactions between children and their caregivers. Harvard CDC: More
- Enabling participation of young people with physical impairment. NZ Child & Youth Wellbeing: More
- The pervasive effects of racism. BMC: More
- Impact of culture on wellbeing. Mayi Kuwayu Study: More
- The case for evidence based policies. The Evidence Initiative: More
- Using Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare. Chapin Hall: More
- Closing 3 Feb. Grant to develop FASD Guide for people working in early childhood settings. Health: More
- Survey | Helping children who have experienced serious neglect. La Trobe: More
- Connecting culture, health and wellbeing: The Mayi Kuwayu survey - complete online or by phone. More
- Access first 1000 days (conception-2 years) resources to support parents & carers. Raising Children: More
- Nine plain English principles of Trauma Informed Care. ACF: More
- Online safety for young people. eSafety Commissioner: More
- Program overview, Too good for drugs. Target ages 11-14. CEBC: More
- Safety first in family law. Women's Legal Services Australia: More
- Video and article: Too much structured playtime. Child Trends: More
- I Love Being a Koorie Kid Because... Deadly Story: More
- Free online resource launched for health professionals supporting Indigenous families. Rural Health: More
- Podcast: Affordable housing in Australia: What can we do about it? BSL: More
- In their shoes, online resource to teach empathy. Gowrie VIC & ECA: More
- Poster to guide language use when working with young people. CREATE Foundation: More
- Free App, learn to meditate. Headspace: More
- Special dad time: how to make it happen. Raising Children: More
- Evidence-based recommendations for early childhood beverages. RWJF: More
- Visit the Deadly Tots website for a great set of courses, projects and resources. More
Charities Aid Foundation. (2019). CAF World Giving Index: Ten years of giving trends
. Charities Aid Foundation.
Cook, K., Albury, K., Savic, M., Zirakbash, F., Al Mahmud, A., Ahmed, A., Martin, J., Fordyce, R., Mackelprang, J., Bano, M. & Schneider, J. (2019). Doing better for vulnerable young parents and their children: an exploration of how technology could catalyse system transformation
. Melbourne: Swinburne University of Technology.
eSafety Commissioner. (2019). Online safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in urban areas
. (Research Report 10/2019). Canberra: Commonwealth Government of Australia.
Forell, S. and Nagy, M. (2019). Joining the dots: 2018 census of the Australian health justice landscape
. Sydney: Health Justice Australia.
Wendt, S., Seymour, K., Buchanan, F., Dolman, C., & Greenland, N. (2019). Engaging men who use violence: Invitational narrative approaches
. (Research report, 05/2019). Sydney: ANROWS
National Mental Health Commission. (2019). Monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform: National Report 2019
. Sydney: NMHC.
The Front Project. (2019). Upskilling in early childhood education: Opportunities for the current workforce
. Future Tracks.
Conferences, Events and Training:
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