Daily News - Monday 11 November 2013

Posted 11 November 2013 7:54am

We know how to help the needy, but who's listening?
Toby Hall, The Age

What if you worked with the very hardest cases of homelessness? After 12 months, how many of the men would you expect to drink away their money, fail to pay their rent or utility bills, and end up back on the streets?

Mission Australia put these questions to the test, and the results are stunning. After 12 months 60 men involved in our MISHA project sustained a tenancy rate of 98 per cent. It is a success story that would put most public housing tenancy rates in the shade.

Evidence-based practice and service-based evaluation
Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies

In order to both inform and evaluate what they do, practitioners need to understand the various types of evidence that can be used to test their program objectives. The different types of evidence allow stronger or weaker conclusions to be drawn - the better the evidence, the more confidence you can have in your conclusions.

Service sector reform: a roadmap for community and human services reform
Peter Shergold, Victorian Council of Social Service (via APO)

... multiple streams of program funding should be progressively consolidated or linked to give service providers greater flexibility to pursue integrated outcomes. Bringing funding together would help provide holistic services to those Victorians who face multiple disadvantage. An outcomes framework should be developed to establish metrics against which impact performance will be audited, monitored, measured and reported over time.

An integrated approach to addressing social disadvantage would be particularly useful in addressing the complex issues facing Victoria’s most troubled families. To this end I propose a comprehensive whole-of-government demonstration project that focuses on those families most at risk. This project should use an existing platform, not create a new one.The Victorian Government’s Services Connect initiative would be ideal for this.

Fifield demands action on disability
Patricia Karvelas and Rick Morton, The Australian

The Abbott government has ordered the National Disability Insurance Agency to overhaul its processes and provide immediate "remedial action" because the flagship disability insurance scheme is running late.

This is despite concern that the most vulnerable - those with intellectual disabilities - are being railroaded into accepting decisions that are not right for them and, in some cases, left to negotiate without independent advocates present.

NSW - Labor approval to disability privatising
Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald

The Labor opposition intends waving a National Disability Insurance Scheme bill through Parliament tomorrow, enabling the Coalition to privatise the state’s disability services.

Unions, staff and the families of many people in government care are angry at Labor’s stance, which supports the closure of the Stockton Centre and the Hunter’s other large residential facilities, Tomaree and Kanangra at Morisset.

Parenting advice: just relax, say academics
Cosima Marriner, The Age

Time-poor parents are lavishing more attention on their children, at a cost of stressing out their families, new research suggests.

ACTU wants action as workplace violence predicted to affect one in four employees
Rachel Browne, The Age

Up to one in four people will suffer violence in their workplace during the course of their career, with the direct cost running into millions of dollars a year in Australia.

Workplace stress increasing depression: Australian Psychological Society
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald

One in seven Australians admits to experiencing severe to extremely severe depressive symptoms with almost half citing job-related issues as a source of the stress.

Where in the world are people most depressed?
Mark Rice-Oxley, The Guardian

For those who think of depression as a byproduct of the vapidity of western materialism, this latest study by researchers in Queensland might come as something of a shock. Depression simply isn't that picky. And when it comes to depressive disorders, parts of north Africa and the Middle East suffer more than North America and western Europe.

What do young people gain from drug use?
Joanne Bryant and Sarah MacLean, The Conversation

The idea that illicit drugs could hold value in the lives of young people is bewildering to most people, who tend to assume that illicit drug use is necessarily destructive. This becomes even more distressing for many when the young people involved are still teenagers.

It’s time to have the conversation: understanding the treatment needs of women who are pregnant and alcohol dependent
Lucy Burns, Courtney Breen, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (via APO)

This report presents a narrative literature review of treatments available to pregnant women who have alcohol use disorders and findings from interviews with key stakeholders regarding current treatment practices and areas requiring improvement.

Commission of audit: a crusade of dated ideology and dead ideas
John Quiggin, Sydney Morning Herald

In practice ... commissions of audit are not so much reviews of existing government programs as they are opportunities for newly elected governments to put forward a policy platform based on their real ideological preferences, rather than the compromised platform that was needed to secure victory at the polls.

Pork barrel rolled out 'without approval'
Christian Kerr, The Australian

Millions of dollars in pork-barrel pledges before the federal poll may have been promised illegally, a pre-eminent constitutional scholar has warned.

Anne Twomey from Sydney University told the weekend conference of the Samuel Griffith Society that funding pledged for surf clubs, aquatic centres and sportsgrounds, mostly in marginal electorates, was promised without parliamentary approval, fell outside commonwealth heads of power and was vulnerable to a High Court challenge that is already under way.

Tony Abbott's quick fix to turn back asylum-seeker boats backfires
Mark Kenny, The Age

When the late great Peter Brock promoted a performance enhancing device using crystals to ''align the molecules'' of engines, some people bought it.

About the only thing his ''energy polariser'' polarised, though, was opinion about the Bathurst legend.

The same was so (evidently) with Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison's aggressively marketed asylum-seeker tomahawk sold under the label ''stop the boats''.

Sex abuse victims request disability pension
Kate Stowell, PM, ABC

In Victoria, a group of people who have been sexually abused are asking to be put on the same disability pension as returned soldiers.

The idea is coming from Ballarat, a city with a dark past of child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

Pope: Church must include sick, disabled
Vatican Radio

Pope Francis has called for the “real inclusion” in the Christian community of people with sickness and disability through inclusive ministry in parish communities and Catholic associations.

UK - Caring for the poor is natural Catholic territory – let’s not give it up
Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald

The question of poverty deserves to get a wider airing than it does. So it is good to see that Father Timothy Radcliffe devoted his recent Romero Lecture to the subject, as reported in this paper.

Are the poor hated in this country? They are certainly perceived as a problem that needs a solution, and there is a rising sense that the welfare state is close to breaking point, thanks to the ever-rising cost of benefits. That the welfare state as presently constituted is not working and needs reform ought to be a position that all reasonable people could share, but, alas, discussion about the welfare state has degenerated into a less that reasoned discussion about “scroungers” and “benefit tourism”. The rich, and indeed those who are not particularly rich as well, feel themselves under siege, having to pay for what seems to be an ever-increasing benefits bill. Are the poor hated in this country? Well, yes: if to be regarded as a nuisance, to be feared and to be despised as scroungers is to be hated, then they are hated.

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