Daily News - Tuesday 9 December 2014

Posted 9 December 2014 7:57am

Give extra childcare funding to vulnerable kids: experts
Judith Ireland, The Canberra Times

The peak national children's body is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to put additional funds into caring for disabled and low income children as he devises his new "families' package" over the summer holidays.

This comes as those within the childcare sector are privately describing Mr Abbott's announcement "huge news," hopeful it will pave the way for further funding increases for early childhood education.

Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page said the federal government needed to concentrate on vulnerable and disadvantaged children into early childhood education as it revamped its approach to families. According to ECA, 15 to 20 per cent of children have special needs, which among other supports, require higher staff to child ratios.


Family day carers confused about Government's plans to both cut and boost child care funding
David Mark, ABC

Family day care providers are unclear about Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plans to both cut and funnel funding into Australia's child care sector.

Mr Abbott announced on Monday that he was going to re-jig his paid parental leave scheme to funnel more money into child care.


Stella Young didn't change the whole world for people with disabilities. But she led the charge
Graeme Innes, The Guardian

I saw Stella Young perform last Wednesday night at the closing function for the Don’t Dis my Ability campaign. Her opening lines were something like:

“Now before we start tonight, I just want to thank all the able-bodied people in the room. I’m so pleased that your friends have brought you out tonight, and that you are here. You are just so – what’s the word – so inspirational.”


How Stella Young wanted to be remembered: 'Strong and fierce, not sweet or fragile'
Michael Lallo, The Age

If you post a tribute to Stella Young today, please do not include a picture of a snowflake.

Just two months ago, Young – who died unexpectedly on Saturday – issued this precise instruction on Facebook.

"In case I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I want to make something clear," said the award-winning comedian, writer, feminist, atheist, activist, knitter, leading disability advocate and self-described "crip".

"I am not a snowflake. I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of fragility and life. I am a strong, fierce, flawed adult woman. I plan to remain that way, in life and in death."


Drugs, family dysfunction and the burden of responsibility
Kate Legge, The Australian Magazine

A box of tissues slides back and forth across the laminated table top as grandparents weep in a therapeutic hour spent swapping stories of children harmed by parents too high on drugs or bent on scoring to care for their progeny.

Occasionally great belly laughs of recognition ease the bleakness. They meet monthly in the Tarneit community centre on Melbourne’s western flank, where new houses sprout like thistles in the flat fields.

The tales they tell are shocking. One two-year-old had been kept in a cot with a dog. Unable to walk or talk, he communicated by licking. “I thought he was deaf or autistic because he didn’t answer to his name,” his grandmother explains. A former nurse, she gained custody of the boy and four siblings after they almost burnt to death in a house fire accidentally started by one of the children to stop the youngest from crying. “He knew they loved birthday candles so he was playing with the lighter,” she says.


Tasmania's childhood trauma rates rise sharply, Australian Childhood Foundation report finds
Ellen Coulter, ABC

Incidents of childhood trauma in Tasmania have reached a five-year high, according to a report by the Australian Childhood Foundation.

The foundation's report found conditions that led to abuse, violence and trauma for children in the state were getting worse.

The report's co-author Joe Tucci said there was also a large number of children in urgent need of trauma intervention who were not getting it.


Long-term drought policy missing: NFF
Colin Bettles, Farm Weekly

Just because drought support measures are being built from scratch doesn't mean the government's approach is ad hoc, according to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

“The issue is when we came to government there was no drought policy,” he said.

“We apparently had a miraculous event in the previous government where they said the droughts were over and it was all fixed.


Aboriginal leader backs community closures but demands welfare reform
Andrew Burrell, The Australian ($)

A senior Aboriginal leader in the Kimberley has backed the Barnett government’s controversial plan to close scores of ­remote indigenous communities but says it must be accompanied by Noel Pearson-style reforms to get people off welfare and into work.

Ian Trust, who heads the not-for-profit Wunan Foundation, said many communities were not viable and were contributing to the region’s entrenched welfare dependency and high rates of unemployment and school truancy. But he had been unable to convince West Australian Premier Colin Barnett that the East Kimberley should become the first region outside Cape York to institute a radical program of welfare reform, including community panels with the power to recommend welfare quarantining.


Abbott Government ‘deliberately targeting’ indigenous people in welfare changes
Myles Morgan, NITV News

They’ll have to work 25 hours a week, or about 260 days a year, double the number of days of welfare recipients in urban areas.

The Federal Opposition and the Greens have labelled the moves as punitive and discriminatory against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Remote area unemployed face punishment for 'passive welfare behaviour'
Lenore Taylor, The Guardian

More than 30,000 mostly Indigenous people will suffer “immediate consequences” for their “passive welfare behaviour” if they fail to work for the dole five days a week, 12 months a year, according to leaked briefing notes for the government’s new remote jobs scheme.

The government has announced it will make immediate changes to the remote jobs and communities program (RJCP) because it says the current scheme, introduced by the former Labor government, is a “disaster” and a “comprehensive failure”.


Dole reform must be just the first step, says Andrew Forrest
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest says a new policy to introduce full-time work for the dole in remote Australia is only a “small” part of his Creating Parity report — and the Abbott government must introduce his other recommendations if meaningful change is to be achieved.

Nearly 30,000 people across remote Australia, most of them ­indigenous, will have to work five days a week for a year to receive the dole, under a new ­regime to be rolled out by the Abbott government. The remote scheme, which will require recipients of the New­start Allowance to undertake 25 hours of work-for-the-dole activities each week, is tougher than the regime to be rolled out in cities and regional areas, which will apply for only six months a year.


Bess Price urges intervention to protect children from domestic violence
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Prominent Northern Territory minister Bess Price says fears of another stolen generation must not be used as an excuse not to protect Aboriginal children at risk, arguing “We need to intervene more in my people’s families to protect our children”.

Speaking at the 2014 World Indigenous Domestic Violence Conference, Ms Price called for a non race-based child protection system and a redoubling of efforts towards a dynamic, “forward-looking strategy to ensure our children’s rights to freedom from violence”.


The Kinship Conundrum: The Impact of Aboriginal Self-Determination on Indigenous Child Protection
Jeremy Sammut, Centre for Independent Studies

This report argues that mainstreaming revolution in Indigenous policy should be extended to Indigenous child protection policy, and that Aboriginal exceptionalism—typified by the operation of Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP)—must cease. To help ‘Close the Gap’ in social outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous children should be treated the same, including by using adoption (or permanent guardianship) on a non-discriminatory basis.


NT Aboriginal child removal ….. researcher says numbers have increased threefold since 2007
CAAMA (audio)

Alarming data on the removal of Aboriginal children from their families in the Northern Territory reveals the number has grown by more than three times since the Howard coalition Government Intervention in 2007.

Paddy Gibson a Central Australian based researcher with the University of Technology Sydney says with almost 800 Aboriginal kids in the NT now in out of home care…the aggressive attitude is not improving outcomes and there are no indicators to demonstrate things are getting better.

Mr Gibson says under the watch of the current Minister for Child Protection, John Elferink, the system has seen its biggest influx of kids.


US - Nation's First County-Level Pay For Success Program Aims to Reconnect Foster Children with Caregivers in Stable, Affordable Housing
Nonprofit Finance Fund, media release

The County of Cuyahoga, Ohio, encompassing the greater Cleveland area, is launching the nation’s first county-level Pay for Success (PFS) project in partnership with FrontLine Service, a comprehensive continuum of care service provider for homeless persons in Ohio. The Partnering for Family Success Program, the first PFS project in the combined areas of homelessness and child welfare, will deliver intensive 12-15 month treatment to 135 families over five years to reduce the length of stay in out-of-home foster care placement for children whose families are homeless.


Financial System Inquiry — Impact investing
Financial System Inquiry report

Impact investing allows investors to pursue opportunities that provide both social and financial returns. This innovative form of funding is growing globally as a valuable mechanism to support social service delivery. Changing community expectations about the role of government and the financial sector in funding social service delivery highlight a need for this funding mechanism in Australia.

... The Inquiry sees merit in Government facilitating the impact investment market. Government's involvement should include coordinating interested private sector parties, providing expertise on social service delivery and performance measurement, and offering explicit public endorsement for the significant private sector interest in this emerging market.


Acoss survey: 80% of welfare services lack resources to fulfil roles
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

Eighty per cent of community sector services in Australia have said they do not have enough resources to properly support the vulnerable people seeking their help, a report by the Australian Council of Social Service (Acoss) has found.


Mental health services losing staff, citing funding uncertainty
Alexandra Kirk, AM, ABC

Community mental health organisations are calling on the Abbott Government to end the uncertainty over funding and their capacity to provide services for people with mental illness.

A national survey of not-for-profit agencies has found the sector hit by low morale and losing experienced staff as they wait to find out about the future of their Commonwealth funding after June next year.


Pell takes on the Italians
Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter

A choir of voices has begun lauding Cardinal George Pell for cleaning up the Vatican's money management operations. And the strongest notes in this hymn of praise come from the basso profondo of the Australian cardinal himself.

The 73-year-old Pell, who is officially the prefect of the Vatican's recently created Secretariat for the Economy, gave a glowing progress report of his financial reform efforts in an 1,800-word article published last week in Britain's Catholic Herald.

... Characteristically, the article was blunt. It was also less than flattering toward Italians and even expressed a patronizing attitude toward their business practices. The cardinal said a British parliamentarian had asked him why Vatican authorities had allowed the financial situation "to lurch along, disregarding modern accounting standards, for so many decades." He said the politician's question "was one of the first that would come to our minds as English-speakers." Then he added that it was also "one that might be much lower on the list for people in another culture, such as the Italians."


Economist seeks to reconcile Francis with free market economics
Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Some of the harshest criticisms of Pope Francis have come from people upset at his continued criticism of the global capitalist system.
From his firm rejection of "trickle-down economics" in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel") to his recent lament that speculation on the price of foodstuffs leaves many hungry around the world, the pontiff has been clear about his displeasure about how global markets sometimes do not serve those with the most needs.

That has led some to go so far as to accuse the pope of being a Marxist, an accusation he has rejected.

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