PeakCare Research group kicks off for 2016

by PeakCare Qld on 3rd February 2016

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Minister Fentiman delivers enthralling speech at PeakCare's AGM

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

If you were unable to attend PeakCare’s AGM on Wednesday, 7th December 2016, make sure you read the enthralling speech delivered by the Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
on 12th December 2016

Your candidates for PeakCare's Board for 2017

by PeakCare Qld
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New Family and Child Connect services (FaCC), Intensive Family Support services (IFS) and specialist Domestic and Family Violence services

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (the department) wishes to advise of the release of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Mount Isa / Gulf Family Support and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Support Services

More about the Royal Commission into the South Australian child protection system

by PeakCare Qld
on 18th August 2016

The South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Report, The life they deserve, was released in early August 2016. The report is presented in two volumes. The first volume sets out what the Royal Commission did to examine the adequacy of current laws and policies to protect children and young people, system deficits and 260 recommendations addressing a wide range of structural, system and practice aspects across the SA government and service system. The second volume contains 5 case studies that examine the operation of the system and practice quality in specific areas. Four focus on the individual circumstances of young children, intervening in high risk families, leaving care, and children with complex needs in out of home care.

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PeakCare members were treated to four terrific presentations at the first meeting of the Research Group for 2016. The group meets each month in Brisbane to hear and discuss presentations from academics, researchers, PeakCare members and others. Yesterday’s meeting was on the intersection of child protection, family support and disability services, with a particular focus on supporting families with a child with a disability. The topic was considered from research, policy and program, and operational perspectives.

The meeting was facilitated by Morrie O’Connor from the Community Living Association. The first speaker, Dr Kathy Ellem (QUT) spoke to qualitative research undertaken in 2011 with Prof Jill Wilson (UQ) and Prof Lesley Chenoweth (Griffith University). Through in-depth interviews with mothers who had relinquished care of their child with a disability to the child protection system, the authors found that although relinquishing provided some reprieve from daily caring responsibilities, the mothers had feelings of guilt, anxiety and grief, and were concerned for their child’s behavioural and emotional adjustments post relinquishment. The accounts highlight the socio-political nature of caring for a child with a disability and the need for coordinated responses and expertise in supporting family members, and the distinction parents made that relinquishment does not equate to ‘giving up care’.

Noting the interface with the Queensland Government’s response to recommendation 4.12 from the Carmody Inquiry about Disability Services allocating sufficient resources to families who have children with disability to continue to care for their children, the second presentation was from Disability Services, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. In the absence of Prof Karen Nankervis from the Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support, Liz Steel from Disability Services presented on the evidence-based, family-focused, strengths-based Early Intervention Response model that has been developed. Core components are collaborative approaches, across family support and disability services, to working with families of children with disability; targeted supports to build the family’s capacity, knowledge and skills; and screening and assessment tools, case management and coordination across mainstream and specialist services. The model firmly sits in the early intervention space, consistent with the NDIS. Utilising out-posted Disability Services’ workers in the first Family and Child Connect and Intensive Family Support services in the Department’s North Coast Region, the tools and other aspects of the model are being piloted.

Reflections on learnings so far and case examples from the North Coast trial were presented by Kay Aldridge, one of the out-posted Disability Services workers. Kay talked about how important joint home visits by service workers and the out-posted worker and offering a specialist consultancy role have been to building the capacity of the services, and therefore families’ capacity.

Finally, Brent McCracken, Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region spoke about the region’s experiences of a collaborative departmental response across Disability and Child Safety – for a Communities’ response - to support children and young people with disabilities and their families. As Brent said, ‘administrative decisions’ about ‘who’ pays take a back seat to experienced Child Safety and Disability Services practitioners properly listening to and understanding the family’s journey and working with the family to put practical, emotional and therapeutic supports in place that (re)build and maintain relationships between family members, irrespective of the setting/s in which the child receives daily care. A case example illustrated seemingly endless challenges, responsive interventions, and a happy ending.

Planned Research Group meetings in 2016 include presentations on worker resilience and self care, ethical practice when researching with children, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of a child-focused model in a women’s refuge.  

If you work in an organisation that’s a PeakCare member and are interested in the group’s activities, contact Tracey Smith, PeakCare’s Principal Policy Officer, for further information.  



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