Daily News - Thursday 7 August 2014

Posted 7 August 2014 7:56am

WA - Homeless need help, not prison
Tim Clarke, The West Australian

Chief Justice Wayne Martin has urged the State Government to develop more social welfare programs to deal with homeless people and their problems, rather than build more prisons to lock them up.

In a speech as part of Perth's Homeless Persons Week, Justice Martin said on a purely economic level, dealing with the causes rather than the fallout of homelessness would make sense.


UK - Prison doesn’t work – as the Glen Parva shambles shows
Owen Jones, The Guardian

Prison is where we dump – disproportionately – poor people suffering from mental distress. They are left in overcrowded cells, looked after by ever fewer prison officers, with a service that was poor to begin with and which is deteriorating in an era of austerity. There is little effort to reintegrate them into society. The news, then, that Glen Parva young offenders’ prison has descended into something out of The Lord of the Flies – as the Howard League for Penal Reform puts it – should frighten but certainly not shock us.


Learning from the homeless
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

The Budget and changes to welfare suggest that people do not matter, defining them by only one aspect of their lives. Their worth is defined by their economic contribution. As a result not only the few who choose not to seek work or education are stigmatised, but also the vast majority who cannot do so because of disadvantage or because there is no work. Those fortunate enough to be able to work are praised cheaply as if their employment were a mark of virtue, not of good fortune.

There is much more to people than their ability to work. When we come to know disadvantaged people well we are often impressed as much by their resilience as by their great need and their fragility. Despite all the difficulties in their lives they keep on desiring something more. When they find people to stay with them and governments that values them for who they are, and not simply for their social usefulness, they may be able to learn and to find employment. Ensuring that people have homes is a government’s duty. Homelessness is a failure of the social imagination.


UK - Linking mental health treatment to job support is a cruel concept
Kit Marsters, The Guardian

Having to choose between mandatory treatment or potentially losing your benefits puts extra pressure on vulnerable people.

I’ve made some bad choices in my life. When I was younger I had terrible taste in men. There was the verbally abusive guy who ran off with his internet girlfriend (but not before selling off my treasured comic book collection), the guy with a fetish for medieval dental tools. Each time, I gathered my strength and chose to leave.

A few years ago, all choice was taken away from me. I was beaten up, raped and almost killed by someone I knew. I survived, but was left with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, depression and OCD. Due to a lack of treatment – there are lengthy waiting times for treatment on the NHS – I’ve also developed social phobia. I’ve been waiting for more than a year for one-on-one sessions with a psychologist and I know I will have to wait at least a few months longer.


Separated parents benefiting from programs
Stephanie Muir, Riverina Leader

Two invaluable Centacare programs are paving the way for Wagga parents to create a brighter future for their children.

'Anger Management - it's all the rage' and 'Keeping Kids in Mind' are two support programs that offer parents a chance to grow and develop as they cope in the wake of separation.


US - Young Kids Diagnosed with Depression Can’t Shake It Later, Study Says
Eliana Dockterman, Time

Children diagnosed with depression in preschool are likely to continue to be depressed throughout adolescence, according to a new study.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis tracked 246 children ages 3-5 to ages 9-12 and found that depressed preschoolers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from the condition in elementary and middle school, according to the study published in the July issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.


Hoarding hundreds of pets is not just unhygienic, it’s a psychological disorder
Paula Calvo Soler, The Conversation

The broad category of hoarding has only recently been recognised as a psychiatric disorder. It first made an appearance in the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the global reference book of mental health. But while society seems to be aware of the problem of hoarding objects, animal hoarding, where dozens or hundreds of animals can be kept under bad and unsanitary conditions, remains under-recognised.


Living with intellectual disability in The Dreamhouse
Jan Gothard, The Conversation

“I’m not a mummy’s boy any more!” proclaims Justin. “You never were!”, counters his mother Margaret.

Justin, aged 32, is leaving home for the first time. He has Down syndrome and he and two others who also have intellectual disabilities are housemates in The Dreamhouse. The new six-part reality TV series goes to air on ABC1 tonight.


Group fears disaster for disability services
Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald

A Hunter lobby group formed to fight aspects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme says the state government’s plan to stop providing disability services after 2018 will be a disaster for people with intellectual disabilities.


Why you should hire employees with disabilities
Janie Smith, HC Online

Does your workforce include employees with disabilities?

If not, you could be missing out on an important talent pool that has benefits for business.

Jason Barker, deputy CEO of the Australian Network on Disability, told HC that there were still misconceptions around what was involved in hiring disabled workers.


Rising living costs are hitting some of us harder
Greg Jericho, The Drum

The cost of living might be rising for all of us, but employees are currently faring much better than people on welfare payments, who will face an even tougher time under the budget, writes Greg Jericho.


Campbell Newman plans to put parents under greater scrutiny
Michael McKenna, the Australian ($)

Welfare quarantining being trialled in Cape York Aboriginal communities will become permanent and extended across Queensland with new triggers including the sanction of parents if their children are convicted of a crime.

Six years after the launch of the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, the Newman government has moved to enshrine the powers of the Family Responsibility Commission, suggested as a model for a nationwide rollout by Andrew Forrest in his blueprint for Aboriginal welfare and employment.


Complex family payments disadvantage women
Trisha Jha, Centre for Independent Studies

The Abbott government should listen to calls to put their paid parental leave scheme on the backburner and instead reform family payments to help parents who are disincentivised from working as much as they wish, according to a new Centre for Independent Studies report.


Sex workers to have to wait longer to get dole
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Sex workers and table-top dancers who lose their jobs will not be eligible for a reduction in the number of months they have to wait before they can get the dole, sparking accusations the Abbott government is imposing moral judgments on the social welfare system.


Fact Check: Is the disability support pension a 'set and forget' payment?

The Abbott Government has introduced new rules for people under 35 who receive the disability support pension, and is considering other changes.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told Sydney radio station 2GB on July 4: "The DSP for decades now has been a 'set and forget' payment. Once people are on it we've basically said 'well, you're on it and we'll forget all about you'."


More inequality means more poverty

It is now widely accepted that inequality in Australia, and around the world, is getting worse. VCOSS and its member organisations are increasingly making the link between the growing incidence of poverty and disadvantage we see every day, and the increasing structural inequality that is a significant cause of it.

In the community sector, we are often very focused on the coalface of poverty: attending to the often desperate people who come to us for assistance daily. But poverty doesn’t appear from nowhere, and it is not the sole result of individual decisions. When the gains of economic growth and rising wealth are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a very few, there is less to meet the needs of everyone else, meaning people will be more likely to fall into poverty and lead diminished lives.


Podcasts offer a portable resource for social workers
Patricia Fronek, The Guardian

Even social work technophobes are listening to podcasts or portable audio recordings. You can listen to whatever you like, whenever you like, wherever you are and no matter what you are doing. All you need is a media player (on a computer or smartphone). Listening is as simple as a few clicks of a mouse, and is even easier when smartphones download them for you.

Many different disciplines, from the media to science, have reached out to the public, professionals and students since podcasting took off in the mid 90s. US social worker Jonathan Singer, host of The Social Work Podcast, was an early pioneer who recognised the potential of podcasts and in time others followed.

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