Daily News - Tuesday 13 January 2015

Posted 13 January 2015 8:04am

How we came to have a son with Down syndrome
Kari Wagner-Peck, Daily Life

When my husband Ward and I started dating I was 42 years old and he was 29. Yeah, I have a trophy husband.

We eventually wanted a child. We briefly explored fertility counselling, but after I cancelled our introductory appointment with the clinic--twice--I had to explain to Ward that I didn't want to be pregnant. A biological child wasn't important to me. Understandably, it took a while for my husband to come to terms with the fact that adoption would be our path to a child.


Funding cut to drug and alcohol centre could see local children forced into foster care
Moyra Shields, ABC

The manager of a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation program says cuts to funding could force some Riverina, South Coast and Monaro children into foster care.

The Karralika Program in Canberra allows children to stay with their parents who are having treatment and caters for 20 people, with families coming from Wagga, Albury, Griffith, Young and Yass.

Karralika CEO, Camilla Rowland, says $280,000 in Commonwealth funding for the family work was cut in December.


Vulnerable children in South Australia face long-term emergency housing

South Australia’s child protection authorities are under more pressure as figures reveal more vulnerable children are being left in emergency housing.

An average of 78 children were living in short-term accommodation on any given night as of December last year, compared with just 31 in October 2013, News Corp Australia reported on Monday.

Children in emergency accommodation, who often had very complex needs or traumatic backgrounds, were kept in motel rooms, cabins and rented apartments, supervised by agency carers.

The state’s guardian for children and young people, Pam Simmons, said up to a third of these children were being kept in emergency housing for more than 18 months.


Be productive, then procreate
Gary Johns, The Australian

Children who grow up in welfare-dependent families are much more likely to be dependent upon welfare as adults. This is the unsurprising finding of Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark in the Youth in Focus research project.

... The working class, by and large, waits until they can afford to have children. The non-working class may not. The best way to have the non-working class mimic the working class is to have them practice contraception.

The best time to intervene is at the time someone decides whether to take a benefit. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of intervention.


Aboriginal child placement policy not broken, says Linda Burney
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

NSW Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney, Labor’s most ­senior indigenous woman, has ­defended policies that require ­indigenous children removed from their families to be placed with other indigenous families, disputing the system is broken.

It follows a report on indigenous child protection by Jeremy Sammut that examines how “well-meaning” policies designed to prevent a new Stolen Generation risk maintaining the gaps in social outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. It argues the significant number of kinship placements are not all safe.


Jeremy Sammut denies ‘willy nilly’ child placement policy
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

A researcher who published a controversial report criticising a policy which places aboriginal children removed from their families with other indigenous families denies he said indigenous children are placed ‘willy-nilly’ when taken into care.

Dr Jeremy Sammut has rejected suggestions made by NSW Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney in a story in The Australian that his latest research claims indigenous children are placed ‘willy-nilly’ to comply with Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP).

Dr Sammut’s report, The Kinship Conundrum: The Impact of Aboriginal Self-Determination on indigenous Child Protection was criticised by Ms Burney.

Media release: Researcher denies report claims Indigenous children are placed ‘willy-nilly’ when taken into care


‘Parents these days’ are judged too harshly
John Pickering, The Conversation

Years of experimental research are now converging on a very simple, and plainly obvious, conclusion: the way we parent our children has a profound effect on how they develop and go on to contribute to society. Put differently, the specific parenting strategies we use with our children have a direct and significant impact on our children’s life chances and opportunities.


Older Australian women becoming homeless at increasing rates
Amy Bainbridge, 7.30, ABC

JANE HUTCHEON, PRESENTER: Older Australian women are becoming homeless at increasing rates. Poor superannuation savings, divorce and domestic violence are among the key issues along with a chronic lack of affordable housing. Advocacy groups say that the Federal Government's funding cuts to the homeless will only make the problem worse. Consumer Affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge has the story.


ACT's $50 note limit on pokies is rough end of the pineapple for problem gamblers
Editorial, The Canberra Times

How about this for a "harm minimisation" strategy for poker machines, ACT Gaming and Racing Minister Joy Burch: don't let gamblers feed $50 notes into Canberra pokies.

The Canberra Times revealed on Monday that Ms Burch had quietly decided just before Christmas to scrap the $20 note limit for pokies, allowing the use of $50 notes.

Talk about giving problem gamblers - and their families - the rough end of the pineapple.


Commissioner rejects calls for changes to discrimination laws in wake of Paris attacks

Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner has flatly rejected calls for possible changes to the nation's discrimination laws in the wake of the terrorist attacks in France.

Federal Government backbencher Senator Cory Bernardi has again called for changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the section of the act that bans language that offends, insults or humiliates people.


Three Simple Ways We Can Clean The Scott Morrison Stain From Our Asylum Seeker Policies
Antony Scholefield, New Matilda

With the recent cabinet reshuffle comes an opportunity to restore some humanity to Australia's policies towards refugees, writes Antony Scholefield.


2015 Can be ‘Year of Employment’
Xavier Smerdon, Pro Bono News

New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has been urged by peak community welfare organisations to make 2015 a positive year for employment, with a particular focus on the disadvantaged.

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), Dr Cassandra Goldie and President of the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN), Maree O’Halloran, said “Australia’s social security system provides safety for families and individuals and helps stabilise the economy in downturns" and it should be strengthened.

The pair pointed to Government plans to cut employment benefits to young people as potentially one of the most damaging ideas put forward by the Abbott Government last year.


A brief history of tax: Part 1 Income tax, the great leveller
Peter Davidson, Need to Know

Tax reform is back on the agenda. Since those who fail to study history risk repeating it (and I was involved in the latter-day history of tax reform) I’m writing this 3 part series as a guide for people who want to become involved in the next phase. I begin with a short history of the dominant tax of the second half the 20th century – personal income tax.


The government has staked the key economic battlegrounds for 2015. And they seem to take aim at the poorest
Greg Jericho, The Guardian

The period over Christmas and New Years is generally a slow one for economics and politics. But over this holiday period there were a few signals on the key economic battlegrounds for the next 12 months. And oddly, these signals seem to reinforce the perception that the government’s policies are unfair.

... The big political and economic move over the summer was the cabinet reshuffle that moved Scott Morrison to social services. The appointment and commentary supplied by Tony Abbott suggests that the government view welfare cuts as a big-ticket item this year.


UK - Charities are wasting time and money on the way they lobby politicians
Ben Summerskill, The Guardian

Tick tock, tick tock. Hundreds of MPs are only too aware that the grim voter awaits them in four months. Many have recently launched maniacal attempts to secure re-election, determined to demonstrate a firm commitment to local issues. (In south London, the Croydon Advertiser has in response launched a “campaign to end all campaigns” of the local MP Gavin Barwell. He is said to have a weekly habit of launching a campaign. He holds, it won’t surprise you, a marginal seat.)

How many charities, too, are similarly gearing up to flood thousands of parliamentary candidates with inquiries as to which of their issues they might or might not support should they be elected? And more important, are those charities really using that time and resource wisely?


Pope Francis on youth unemployment and exploitation
Catholic Herald

"... the young are thrown away when they are denied concrete prospects of employment to build their future. Indeed, there is no poverty worse than that which takes away work and the dignity of work ... or which turns work into a form of enslavement. This is what I sought to stress during my recent meeting with popular movements working to finding adequate solutions to some of today’s problems, including the scourge of rising unemployment among the young, illegal labour, and the dramatic situation of so many workers, especially children, who are exploited out of greed. All this is contrary to human dignity and the fruit of a mentality which is centred on money, benefits and economic profit, to the detriment of our fellow man."


The pope’s new cardinals could perpetuate the system, not upend it
John L. Allen, Crux

Prelates who have no Vatican experience, who don’t speak Italian, and who don’t themselves have the experience of running a large and complex ecclesiastical operation, may feel a natural tendency to defer to the old hands — generally meaning the same Vatican mandarins whom Francis recently excoriated for suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and the “terrorism of gossip.”

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