QCPW Awards 2014

by PeakCare Qld on 4th September 2014

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family advocates, Regional flood impacted winners and Educators steal the show at the QCPW Awards 2014.

The 2014 Queensland Child Protection Award recipients span the State and outline how those going about their business can ensure that children, young people and their families are safe and supported.  Each year we are inspired by how much work is undertaken by those focused on child protection.  Across the gamut of communities, individuals with a desire to assist, organisations involved in service delivery, programs offered and government bodies involved, we are inundated by examples of excellence in child protection.  This year is no exception.  

What has stood out this year however is the extraordinary example of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in their capacity to capture child protection and family support matters and take them into their own hands and hearts to find solutions.   We congratulate Aunty Di Moore as the inaugural winner of the Addressing overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, children and young people in the child protection system Award.  We also congratulate the ‘Yarning Up’ Steering Committee for their grass roots initiative focused on speaking up and focusing on self-determination and empowerment.

Wide Bay Burnett region has Matthew Armstrong as its star for good reason.  He is the Professional winner of the government category.  Close by, the Bundaberg Child Protection Week Action group has been busy for years in building networks and ensuring child and family well-being.  

Then far north, there’s Lee-Ann Davis-Collier, a foster carer who undertook to do a mural with a number of children and young people at the Innisfail Child Safety Service Centre. This mural represents what it feels like being a child or young person in care.

In Brisbane Catherine Crowe and Ann George have been busily supporting children in foster care respectively though reading and supporting their education or through the provision of much sought after care packs provided with love and consideration for how children may feel coming into the foster care system.

Education was notable in the Awards this year with Susan Diggles of Catholic Education viewed as the leader in the Professional (non-government) category.  Then the little school that could, Carole Park State School trumped all others in winning the Education Initiative.

We wholeheartedly congratulate all of Queensland Child Protection Week 2014 Award recipients.  These outstanding contributors to our children and families in Queensland desire no acknowledgement or applause.  They have however, been awarded it with good reason.  

To find out more about our 2014 Award recipients:  

Professional (Non-Government):

Susan Diggles

Sue has worked for 15 years at the Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane. Sue has made outstanding contributions to child protection at a practice, policy and service development level improving the provision of services for Child harm prevention. Sue has successfully established a centralized, highly professional and responsive Student Protection Services Team, providing services to support over 71,000 students, 11,000 staff and 137 schools. Sue has successfully mentored hundreds of staff in schools including guidance officers and student protection contacts, growing their capacity to act protectively in the best interests of children, greatly improving provision of service for child harm prevention.

 

Professional (Government):

Matthew Armstrong

Matthew is described as being a remarkable man. He is the Senior Practitioner for South Burnett Child Safety Service Centre and is currently on secondment to the department’s Policy Unit developing a project for young people who have been in out of home care to have continued support after the age of 18. Matt has worked in the Department for almost 20 years and has been in the South Burnett area for ten of those years. 

Matt works in a way that always reflects transparency, accountability and community engagement.   He shows a passion for the rights of, and opportunities for children in care. Matt has been a significant leader and contributor to many projects.  These are too many to mention.

Volunteer:

Cathryn Crowe

Cathryn is one of the most respected and long serving Pyjama Angel Volunteers with the Pyjama Foundation. Many children have benefited from her support. She works closely for the children she is matched with, but also any children visiting on respite on many occasions. She always has the best interests at heart for the children, including their health, safety and mental wellbeing. She is always reliable and provides consistency and a visit that is always looked forward to. Cathryn has enhanced the children’s thirst for knowledge and opened their world to so many more exciting experiences. 

 

 

Regional Program:

Bundaberg Child Protection Week Action Group 

Bundaberg Child Protection Week Action Group is a multi-agency group comprising of 20 government and non-government agencies in the Bundaberg Region. This group has been meeting to collaborate, plan and coordinate whole of community activities for Child Protection Week since 2009. 

In the six years of running the Bundaberg Child Protection Week Action Group has been extremely active, collaborative and immensely community minded. The diverse membership has always aimed to provide free activities to ensure that everyone can afford to access the events. This group has expanded child protection understanding within the Bundaberg community around topical child protection issues. 

 

Education Initiative:

Carole Park State School Staff

One of the greatest protections we can give to children is access to a quality education delivered by qualified, caring and innovative staff and community.  It is under this umbrella that the staff of Carole Park State School work from. Students from Carole Park State School come from culturally diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged communities, a community often impacted by trauma. 

Invention processes are grounded in research and not limited to school based professionals. They also have strong relationships with government and non-government agencies.  Art therapy programs developed to assist those children at risk of developing a psychiatric disability are key to the success of the school and its innovation.  

Carol Park State School lives by the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” and they ensure that the village is drawn upon to raise children.

 

Youth Participation:

Lee-Ann Davis-Collier

The Innisfail Child Safety Service Centre wanted to provide young people in care with an opportunity to participate in activities where they could learn new skills and gain some self-development, whilst promoting child protection within the community.  

Lee-Ann, a foster carer herself, volunteered to lead a group of thirteen young people to undertake a project to paint the foyer wall of the Service Centre.  The idea was to develop a mural that represented the ideals and perspectives of a child in care and to give the young people a voice about what it means to be such a child.

Lee-Ann worked closely with the children over a period of 8 weeks.  The journey of this project, from start to finish, was collated into a video and exhibited at the “unveiling” of the mural.  Everyone was moved by the young people’s stories. 

 

Media and Communications:

The ‘Yarning Up’ Steering Committee – Volunteers from Phoenix House

In 2012, Phoenix House made a submission for a community development project to use ‘power to’ and ‘power with’ rather than ‘power over’ in local Aboriginal communities to consult about how to best meet their needs following sexual and family violence. It was based upon gaining sound knowledge of local Aboriginal culture ‘Yarning Up’ and empowerment.’ One of the ways this was facilitated was through empowerment, participation and starting where the people are at by the establishment of a steering committee elected by the local Aboriginal community. 

The steering committee used a framework of values for committee operation centred on empowerment, mutual respect, self- determination and incorporating cultural and grass roots community knowledge and strengths. This assisted in identifying what the key concerns about sexual violence and family violence are within their community and how to respond to them.

A report was produced which identified 8 key themes; social taboo and shame, issues surrounding privacy, trust and confidentiality, the normalisation of sexual and family violence, the impact of historical, social and structural factors, increased presentation at services, a lack of culturally appropriate services, a lack of knowledge, education and training about sexual and family violence, and the deterrents to reporting sexual and family violence.

 

 

Community Initiative:

Ann George – Project, Love and Care

Ann is the lead volunteer for Project Love & Care which she established in 2005.  She wanted to make a difference to children who were coming into out of home care. Since 2005, Project Love & Care has provided approximately 40,000 care kits.  These have been received by children going into foster care and by those entering domestic violence shelters. 

Each care kit contains toiletries, pyjamas, 2 sets of clothes, educational supplies, a toy and a special journal book which includes some special messages for each child or young person reminding them that they are special and being thought of. The kits are packed into a hand sewn carry bag. Every month, Anne hosts two packing days in her home when up to 20 volunteers meet to pack the kits.

 

Addressing overrepresentation of ATSI families, children and young people in the child protection system

Aunty Diane Moore 

Aunty Di Moore is a proud Aboriginal women who has played a big part in the Child Protection arena in the Brisbane Region. Her input and guidance of staff at IFACSS over the last 14 years can only be described as priceless. She has spent almost 30 years supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, Young People and Families.

Aunty Di’s knowledge of the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community allows so many the ability to understand the family connections.  This is a rare resource that she offers. Aunty Di’s ability to provide a social and cross-cultural understanding to non-indigenous colleagues has given her a greater sense of sharing and caring for the things that really matter. 

Aunty Di has exhibited a commitment to advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, Young People and Families, building a strong case through her understanding and knowledge of legislation and processes. Her ability to advocate comes from years of understanding and the respect that is shown by both her colleagues in the Government and Non-Government sectors.

Aunty Di is a truly gifted ’teacher’ and educator ... a tireless facilitator and powerful  worker in her own right, she never set out to change people, as she believed they 'must do that for themselves'.  

 
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