Daily News - Wednesday 14 August 2013

Posted 14 August 2013 11:12am

Campaign urges Melbourne authorities to stop issuing fines to homeless people
Simon Lauder, ABC

A campaign has been launched in Melbourne to cut the number of fines handed to homeless people for offences such as begging and fare evasion.

The Homeless Person's Legal Clinic has called on the authorities to use their discretion and consider other options instead of issuing fines.

Homeless Service Improves Health - Report
Pro Bono News

A Melbourne service supporting chronically homeless people into permanent housing has significantly improved serious health problems faced by many of the participants, according to a new report.

The report says the Melbourne Street to Home (MS2H) service is delivering promising outcomes but warns that more needs to be done in finding housing options for homeless people in inner city Melbourne.

Senator in the city: Scott Ludlam's vision
John Keane, The Drum

Cities should be human nests, says Ludlam, not prisons that consign people who live on the margins to misery and shame, or forcible removal. He objects to popular stereotypes of the homeless as lazy, smelly modern-day untouchables who've nobody but themselves to blame. 'On any given night in Australia', he points out, 'more than 105,000 people find themselves homeless. That's 1 in every 200 people. Over a quarter are children under the age of 18. Most are victims of domestic violence.'

Victoria - Public housing tenants face rent increases after Department of Human Services removes cap on subsidised rent
Melanie Gardiner and Stacy Allen, Whitehorse Leader

The booming real estate market in Burwood has hit public housing tenants, who face increased rent of more than $35 a week.

Tenants who don't qualify for subsidised rent must now match the rent paid by private tenants in their area under new State Government rules.

Last week, the Department of Human Services removed its cap on market rent increases, previously set at $35 a week.

NSW - Suffer the children: Report exposes lack of caseworkers
Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald

Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward has repeatedly exaggerated the number of caseworkers helping the state's most vulnerable children.

Ms Goward's consistent claim that there were more than 2000 caseworkers in the system has been contradicted by an Ernst and Young audit commissioned by her department that shows there were only 1797 in March and 1809 in April.

NSW - Short-term fix on crisis 'won't work'
Rachel Browne and Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald

Child protection workers are being hired on contracts as short as three months in a desperate bid to plug staff shortages, as the crisis within the Department of Family and Community Services deepens.

NSW - Child abuse: Goward must show leadership
Editorial, Sydney Morning Herald

Little wonder DoCS is known to have trouble attracting suitable caseworkers. This is a culture of stress, with a minister quick to shift blame to the bureaucrats, and a structural problem that is being met with structural failure.

NSW - Don't blame DoCS, they're only one part of the puzzle
Eric Scott, Sydney Morning Herald

Family profiles in media reports and details from coroners' findings all tell us about the circumstances of many of the families where there are children who suffer.

Low income, limited education, unemployment, poor housing, alcohol abuse, drug dependency, mental health and domestic violence abound. While never suggesting that only children who live in such environments will be abused, it is clear this lifestyle haunts many victims.

But are these the type of issues that DoCS caseworkers can solve when called in after the risks or abuses have been reported?

NZ - Bill to ensure greater protection for children
Radio New Zealand

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says law changes outlined on Tuesday are the most significant child welfare reforms since 1989.

The Vulnerable Children Bill will be introduced to Parliament soon, making the public sector more accountable for protecting children, as well as placing greater restrictions on known and suspected abusers.

Aged care workers cite abuse and neglect of nursing home patients
Margot O'Neill, Lateline, ABC

Aged care workers say their industry is facing a staffing crisis, with claims of abuse and neglect as patients struggle to get even basic care.

Aged care groups urge politicians to embrace further reforms to improve lives of older Australians
Monique Ross, ABC

Politicians have been urged to put the needs of older Australians front and centre as they race towards the election, with aged care groups saying the next government must embrace further reforms.

Step into Skills Program a Drop in the Ocean
Marist Youth Care

Whilst Marist Youth Care agrees with any support for Skills and Training for disengaged young people, the Prime Minister's announcement of $35 million Step into Skills Program for training 8,900 young people nationally is a drop in the ocean for what is needed to re-engage thousands of young people into education.

Abbott's Recycled Green Army Policy
Georgina Moore, New Matilda

Tony Abbott said John Howard's Green Corps 'failed to make a difference' in 2010. So why is he rolling out a rehashed version of the policy now?

Queensland Government pledges land for charities to build housing for disadvantaged people
Sarah Vogler, Courier Mail

Bronwyn Tarlton faced life in a dementia ward until charity Youngcare stepped in.

The 51-year-old has multiple sclerosis and, with high-care housing options scarce, Ms Tarlton was told she would have to be moved into a dementia ward.

Queensland - Charities set for infrastructure bonus
Katherine Feeney, Brisbane Times

Charities, religious organisations and schools in Brisbane could save a small fortune in infrastructure charges under a new trial rebate introduced by City Hall.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk on Tuesday made good on a promise outlined in this year's Brisbane City Council budget designed to put “money back in the pockets” of relevant groups over the next year.

US - The End Game of Charity
Mitchell Kutney, Huffington Post

The incentive structures within the charitable sector work against their mission, rather than support it. Where the private sector is incentivized by fortune, the charitable sector is incentivized by misfortune. Just as a gap in the market can bring new opportunities for a business, a gap in income or education can spearhead a charity or nonprofit; more social problems mean more grants and jobs that become available for the charity or nonprofit. It is as if the sector was founded on a conflict-of-interest: succeed by eliminating the "gaps" of society, except that the perpetual existence of the gaps is what keeps you from falling within one.

Canada - Physicians and Health Equity: Opportunities in Practice
Canadian Medical Association

Physicians could feel a sense of powerlessness in the face of the social and economic challenges that their patients faced (10th). The burden of poverty and disadvantage is so great in some areas that it could feel that no actions could truly address the need. It was suggested that some physicians would be unwilling to even ask their patients about these issues due to an ethical concern that they couldn’t do anything to help if an issue was identified.

In praise of pessimism
Will Self, The New Statesman

The optimist ... lives in fear of a future that she endeavours, futilely, to control. The optimists can never be that most desirable of things: a meliorist, because every setback is necessarily a disaster. For the pessimist, it’s simply a matter of shit happens, but until it does, make hay.

US - Why People Blame Themselves
Jennifer M. Silva, Boston Review

In her lead essay for the most recent Boston Review forum, “Beyond Blame,” Barbara Fried points out that the last four decades have been “boom years for blame,” with neoliberal policy increasingly holding the individual solely responsible for his fate. Freedom and dignity have become intertwined with personal responsibility—and blame is our new rallying cry. The growing fragility of our communities and families over the same time period has solidified the notion that one has only oneself to rely on.

Pope Francis as CEO
David Alvarez, Los Angeles Times

It's clear that if Francis wants to meet challenges to morality and justice, he doesn't need to go on the road to find them. He can stay put at the Vatican and have his hands full. But will the Holy Father be willing to forsake the big stage, adoring crowds and fawning media for the lonely desk, stacks of files and constant meetings that today, more than ever, are an integral part of his responsibilities? If he can't, he may go down in history as one of the most popular but least effective popes of the 21st century.

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