Helping foster carers

One of the problematic aspects of politics is the way in which policy debates can turn into rhetorical stoushes, which do not necessarily relate to the reality of how things are at community level.

I try to ensure that my office regularly touches base with a range of community organisations so we can retain an idea of what the issues are for them, as opposed to what politicians or the mainstream media say the issues are.

Community service organisations provide invaluable and often unrecognised assistance to many people. It also gives a useful insight into the practicalities of current debates. I will try to do a few pieces on this blog about some of these organisations to give a small insight into the important work they do, which is often lost beneath the day to day political debate.

Child protection issues continually recur in political debate, although often it seems like we are making little progress. A piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald details the need of foster carers to have “more specialised training, more support and better pay in order to help the growing numbers of highly troubled children being placed in their care.”

Western District Child Protective Services in Brisbane is a community organisation which provides assistance to foster carers. They are responsible for recruiting, training, assessing and supporting foster carers – a service which provides a crucial component in ensuring better child protection.

WDCPS has developed a ‘lifetime memories’ activity, which is designed to address requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999. It engages families in a hands on bonding session, where the foster carer assists the child in adding photos of special occasions and events into a photo album, and they creatively design pages together. The aim is to increase the child’s self confidence and gives them a way to express their own individuality and sense of belonging.

The lack of funding that they and many other similar organisations receive from the government for child protection in general and service delivery in particular is a problem. There is money provided for foster caring, but not necessarily in service delivery.

Many carer organisations are battling with the increasing amount of paper work that governments require them to do in order to maintain their funding. While some accountability is necessary, there is no extra funding or staff to deal with the paper work and therefore carers are getting less attention and support as staff are too busy doing administration.

This is very difficult but very important work, and the more support groups like these get in helping children and young people feel part of family and community, the better for all of us.

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  1. Red, the people that should be paying more tax aren’t – they are avoiding it.

    The tax that is in the system is not getting to the people that need it most, the foster parents and community services (ones that actually help people anyway, not Hillsong types).

    The tax that is paid is being re-channelled right back to targetted voters of Howard as tax cuts and rebates. Therefore still not getting to the people that need it the most.

    That’s how I see it anyway.

    Ken (uber sarcasian), It’s how Howard does it that makes him the highest taxing. Also, where the priority of spending is, and you can’t buy votes without a significant treasure chest in reserve.

    Ross Gittins: Get set for three more years of tax and spend

    “The principle for revenue-neutral tax reform is: broaden the tax base to cut the tax rate. You broaden the base by getting rid of loopholes, exemptions and concessions and tightening up on tax evasion.

    But Mr Howard finds it more politically profitable to do the opposite: he’s forever eroding the base (by multiplying the number of concessions to special groups) and raising the (real) rate of tax (by failing to index the tax brackets).

  2. Deb

    Maybe we can agree to consider the question is still to be resolved. Gittins writes well, and very often makes a lot of sense, but he also needs to sell papers to the SMH demographic. he knows and I know that the vast bulk of the taxes collected go to ongoing mainstream programs.

    $70 odd billion goes to welfaer – the vast bulk of whohc are the aged pension and associated benefits.

    Yes ther ae poltically targetted programs, but to insinuate that is where all the taxes go is simply not feasible. You must realsie that being inthe health system, that the $60billion that funds health rolls on year afeter year.

    Just actualyl go through the Commonwelath budget and the breadth and width of the fundong dollar beceoms apparent.

    Of course things like the baby bonus are a cronk, as is targetted support to favoured groups and programs, but it realy is around the edges stuff. In my organisation we trun over roughly $200 million per annum, on the expedniture side $185million is budgets for our busniesses to maintian their services and market posiotn. There re3ally is only a small almoutnto “play’ around with, for nerw peroducts, IT, R&D etc.

    The Comonwelath and States can’t be any different or the country would just grind to a halt.

    You have to do more that mouth platitudes that we can all agree with, of course everyone should pay their fari share of tax, or course priorties should be targetted, more should be done for those ion need, its nmothers milk stuff – however to progress we must engage in the detail.

    Please don’t think I’m tryting top offend – these thiogns need disucussion – becasue one thing I’ve learnt over many yeasr is it really doesn’t matter who has the tiller – when they’ve got it their own pets will prevail.

  3. Hi Ken, Oh I’m sure that the differences in party ideology will cause funding shifts.

    I’m also sure that social services are better funded by a Labor government, whereas the Libs tend to start pulling money out of social welfare as soon as they get control of the budget.

  4. I dont think that statement is sustanaible by any real evidcne Deborah – I’d be happy to be proved wrong. Truth is they dont. Prove it sweetheart.

  5. sweetheart!? Again Ken?
    You do realise that using the sexist put down as a means of winning or shutting down debate is hitting below the belt and just plain cheatin’ don’t you?

    Winning at all costs, to the point of loss of respect to yourself is not what I would wish for you.

    Happy for you to win on merit though – and I was going to concede that I don’t know about actual costings, but thought that the Libs pulled money out of social welfare by bringing in new acceptance requirements, compliance rules and default penalties thereby saving money.

  6. Hi – Deborah

    I wouldn’t necessarily concede anything – no doubt someoen out there will be able to analyse the data in any way to suit. All governments manage to say at every budget that they are spending more on everything. i do have a probmenm drawning an automatic correlation between spending more and providing a better service – althouhg theer would have to be a cross over point somewhere – its just a questiopn of where.

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