Jan met with the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People, Megan Mitchell who was visiting the Byron Bay area. Jan and Megan discussed a range of issues affecting young people in regional communities.
Jan’s motion identifying the shortcomings in providing support for young foster children was unanimously supported by the NSW Upper House on the 23rdFebruary 2012.
The vote delivers a clear message to the Government that this issue needs addressing and the implementation of LCPs is a priority. Currently only 18% of foster children entitled to a plan receive one, this was revealed in questions in parliament and budget estimates committee.
Check out the whole discussion that happenned in Parliament plus the questions Jan asked in the lead up to the Motion here: Leaving Care Plan Notice of Motion speeches
There are approximately 18,000 young people in foster care in NSW, and about 1100 of these leave care annually. A Leaving Care Plan is something which should be started by a caseworker when a young person reaches the age of about 15.
The plan prepares the young person for being an adult. It alerts them to adult ideas such as budgeting, education pathways, health supports, learning to drive, setting up a house, and how to cook basic food. Many of these young people leave care between 16 and 18 without any family support and have to manage things on their own. A Leaving Care Plan may help them prepare for this step into adulthood.
A study by the CREATE Foundation shows that:
- only 18% of young people leaving care get a Leaving Care Plan (LCP),
- 35% of young people are homeless in the first year they leave care
These young people are not getting vital support and information which can direct them to better social outcomes.
The legislation says the Minister is supposed to ensure that all young people are getting their LCP- however this is not happening.
Jan Barham has spoken in Parliament on this issue and currently has a Motion on the Notice Paper in Parliament about the importance of supporting these young people. Jan also has a campaign to raise awareness about this vulnerable group of people in our society.
Leaving Care Plan brief for more information,
Go to:Leaving Care Plan petition to download the petition.Get it filled in and send it back to us at:
Jan Barham MLC
Legislative Council, Parliament House
Macquarie Street, SYDNEY 2OOO
Ph: 02 9230 2204 Fax: 02 9230 2766
LEAVING CARE KIT
Recently Jan was presented with a Transitioning from Care Kit by the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC) delegates Kimberly and Chris, and CREATE Foundation representative, Bianca Edwards. This kit will be shown to MPs to gain their support for a Motion that has been placed on the Notice Paper to seek a stronger commitment from the Government to fulfil its obligations to provide young people with Leaving Care Plans.
CREATE Foundation is the peak body representing the voices of all children and young people in out-of-home care. As an advocate for children and young people in care CREATE ensures that their voices are heard by key decision makers in government and out-of-home care sector stakeholders. CREATE believes that consultation and participation is the cornerstone of good practice and fulfils this commitment through the development and support of NYAC.
NYAC provides a national forum for young people with a care experience to have a voice about issues in the care system, in order to improve the system and the lives of children and young people with a care experience.
CREATE hosts a NYAC summit each year which brings together the NYAC delegates from each state across the country with a focus on developing plans that address key issues impacting on children and young people in care.
One of NYAC and CREATE’s goals is to increase support available to young people and adults who are transitioning from care by developing a Transitioning from Care Kit. These kits include state specific information to enable young people to have access to relevant information and resources. It has been developed in consultation with young people who have a care experience and who understand the need for the resources.
The kit provided has information specific to Queensland as there has been no funding allocation from the NSW government towards these Transitioning from Care Kits. In Queensland the Government has provided a budget allocation of approximately $70,000 for the production and distribution of these kits.
In Budget Estimates Committee, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward was asked if NSW would be funding the production and distribution of the kits. The response was:
“While Community Services is aware of the QLD Transitioning From Care Kits they are not being considered in NSW”
The Greens are committed to raising awareness about the importance of supporting young people in their transition from care and a petition is available on the website to provide support for improving the delivery of this important resource. To help with this important campaign download the petition here, or call Ella Buckland on 9230 2204.
Fom 1 July 2012 compulsory income management will be introduced in Bankstown. The NSW Greens have joined the campaign to Say No to Income Management – Not in Bankstown, Not Anywhere!
What is income management? Income management or welfare quarantining means half a person’s Centrelink payment is managed by Centrelink. People targeted will be issued with a “BasicsCard” only to be used to buy certain goods in selected shops. Centrelink can use this money to pay bills like rent and power but not others such as phone bills.
Public meeting: Senator Lee Rhiannon will speak at a public meeting at 1pm on 15 December 2011, at the Civic Tower, 66-72 Rickard Rd, Bankstown. Click to download a copy of the No to Income Management in Bankstown Leaflet.
WHY DO THE GREENS OPPOSE INCOME MANAGEMENT?
It doesn’t work – international research shows that welfare quarantining doesn’t keep children or families healthy and out of poverty.
It’s expensive – welfare quarantining means more money spent on red tape and staff salaries. $38 million has been budgeted for the 10 trial sites alone.
It’s impractical – the BasicsCard forces families to shop at particular stores, usually the large stores where goods may be more expensive.
Other solutions are available – there is strong evidence that voluntary income management programs and family budget planning can help reduce poverty.
Check out other posts about Jan’s questions in NSW Parliament about Income Management by searching this site under “Income Management”.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN?
Join the campaign to Say ‘NO’ to income management, not in Bankstown not anywhere! Visit www.sayno2gim.info to endorse the campaign and sign the petition.
Find and like on Facebook and follow on Twitter @say_no_2_gov_im
Tell the decision-makers what you think
Write to your local MPs and Federal Ministers. As income management requires the support of State Governments, also write to the NSW Premier and NSW Minister for Family and Community Services.
Premier Barry O’Farrell
GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
Ph 02 9228 5239
Fax 02 9228 3935
Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward
Level 34 Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph 02 9228 5413, Fax 02 9228 5501
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services andIndigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin
Federal Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Ph 03 9459 1411 Fax 03 9457 5721
On the 22nd November 2011 Jan put a Motion on the Notice Paper in NSW Parliament about the importance of Leaving Care Plans. Jan has called on the government to fulfil its legislated obligation of providing leaving care plans to all young care leavers. Currently the government only provides plans to 18% of young people leaving foster care.
Leaving Care Plans assist young people who have none, or limited support, with information on what services they can access and how they can access them. The plans are intended to empower young people in their journey into adulthood.
For more information on this issue go here: http://www.janbarham.org.au/?p=87
To help with the campaign you can download a copy of the petition here.
If you have an inquiry please call the office on 9230 2204, and speak to Ella Buckland or Bronwen Regan.
On 10 November 2011, Jan made a speech in the NSW Parliament in support of an exciting community driven multimedia project, auspiced by the Taree Indigenous Development and Employment (TIDE). The project engages 10 to 15-year-old at-risk Aboriginal youth in film-making. One of the recent films developed by the project, entitled RESPECT, was cast with 100% Aboriginal talent and presents an uplifting real life drama about respect for the Elders in a contemporary Aboriginal community on Australia’s Mid North Coast.
The project has a number of partners but is currently seeking funding to continue to operate in TAFE across the region in coming years. To find out more about the project visit Forster Films at http://www.forsterfilmfestival.com.au/ (Project Coordinator Greg Smith). Copies of the DVD are available to community groups, donations of $10 for the DVD are encouraged to support the project.
Jan also hosted a meeting in NSW Parliament about the project earlier this year. Scroll down to see a copy of Jan’s Adjournment Speech!
ADJOURNMENT SPEECH Legislative Council, 10 November 2011
The Hon. JAN BARHAM [6.05 p.m.]: The Respect Project is a multimedia project operating on the mid North Coast that focuses on 10-year-old to 15-year-old Aboriginal youth. It uses film-making processes to provide a way to address their real-life dramas. For several years the Respect Project has been engaging Aboriginal community members in the development of short films, providing insight into traditional Aboriginal stories and culture. The Respect Project is targeted at young people at risk and their families, especially those who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The project brings together local Aboriginal land councils, the police, Corrective Services, community development bodies and education providers, among others, with the support of non-government organisations such as Great Lakes Community Resources and the Forster Film Festival.
The project has most recently published a film and DVD resource entitled Respect, which features local Aboriginal actors. It focuses on issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, history, culture and respect within these communities. Respect has been shown and well-received in schools, detention centres, prisons and offender programs across the region. In relation to the film His Honour Judge J. C. Nicholson, SC, said, “The film ‘Respect’ does more in 30 minutes than I achieve in a two-hour summation in a six-year sentence.”
On 18 October I was invited by the Respect Project to host a discussion about the project. The Attorney General, and Minister for Justice and the member for Canterbury both attended the discussion to speak with members of the board of directors of the Respect Project about a proposed expansion into TAFEs across the mid North Coast. I thank them for their interest and ongoing attention to this project. I note that funding had previously been made available under the previous Minister for Community Services, the member for Canterbury. Local Aboriginal community representatives included Nathan Moran, the Chief Executive Officer of the Birpai Land Council; John Clark, OAM, the Chair of the Biripi Medical Centre and Chief Executive Officer of the Taree Indigenous Development and Employment; Sheree Drylie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forster Land Council; and Mark Rutherford, the Aboriginal Liaison Officer with Corrective Services.
These people were amongst the project members who spoke eloquently at the meeting about the positive impact that the project has had on their communities. The mid North Coast region is amongst those in New South Wales experiencing a growing number of young Aboriginal people in detention. As a result of engagement with the project, these local organisations have been able to trace a significant decrease in antisocial behaviour and reoffending of young people in their communities. I have spoken before in this place about the power of art to bring communities together and to tackle difficult issues in a meaningful way. The Respect Project is an excellent example of this.
Members may also recall another highly successful multimedia project that worked with Aboriginal young people at risk called Koori Exchange, which operated in Cranebrook in western Sydney. It was recently profiled on the ABC’s 7.30 Report. By engaging young people in the research, writing, filming, acting, production and screening of short films, and by telling the stories that young people want to tell, projects such as the Respect Project build the leadership skills of these young people and help them front difficult issues. It also provides them with vocational skills and TAFE certification in some circumstances.
The Respect Project is also an excellent example of a community-government partnership, with resources for the project pooled from a number of different areas. Financial support for the project has included funding from the former Department of Community Services. The project has been successful because of the hard work and personal dedication of individuals. However, it is a sad reality that even highly successful projects find it a constant struggle to maintain funding.
A reduction in offenders leads to significant financial savings to a range of government services and prevents trauma to individuals and families who are impacted by violence. Other members in this place, including The Greens justice spokesperson, Mr David Shoebridge, have spoken about the importance of supporting justice reinvestment programs as a way to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It is heartening to see the willingness of this new Government to consider such approaches. I urge members in this place to consider ways to ensure that projects such as the Respect Project are given the support they deserve. I offer the opportunity to any member who is interested in watching the film to contact me and I will make it available for their viewing.
Ms Barham to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra representing the Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Women—
- What arrangements or agreements are in place between the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink to provide information about people living in Bankstown who have been referred to the Department?
- What class or type of referral to the Department will qualify a person, living in the Bankstown area receiving Federal Government welfare benefits, for income management?
- What community and social service programs currently funded by the Department are located in the Bankstown area? Please provide a complete list.
- What percentage of people referred to the Department living in the Bankstown area are receiving early intervention programs including Brighter Futures?
- Bilateral negotiations have commenced with NSW Government and Commonwealth officials meeting to plan the implementation of the trial. These negotiations will include information sharing arrangements between the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink.
- The Commonwealth has stated targeted income management will apply to vulnerable families and individuals including parents referred for income management by state or territory child protection authorities; people assessed by Centrelink social workers as being vulnerable to financial crisis, which could include people referred by public housing authorities because they are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears; and people who volunteer for income management.
- In 2010-11, Community Services provided funding under the following funding programs in the Bankstown LGA:
Community Services Grants Program: $1,615,845 Children’s Services Program: $2,043,463 Early Intervention Program: $2,889,438 Keep Them Safe: $45,000 Out-of-Home Care: $2,456,301 Supported Accommodation Assistance Program: $2,097,294 Strengthening Communities: $2,137,969 Total: $13,285,310
- The Department of Family and Community Services does not collect data on this basis.
The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services. How many young people in New South Wales who are identified as homeless have been in care and how many of those received a leaving care plan?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I thank the Hon. Jan Barham for her question and interest in this important area. I know that she has done a considerable amount of work in relation to these issues and I have taken particular note of her questions in order to answer them appropriately. The New South Wales Government acknowledges the complex challenges and barriers that young people face in accessing and sustaining appropriate accommodation. In 2010-11 the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Community Services jointly contributed $134 million to fund approximately 350 Specialist Homelessness Services to provide accommodation and support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Approximately 39 per cent of the Specialist Homelessness Services in New South Wales are targeted at young people. This equates to approximately 138 youth-focused Specialist Homelessness Services in 2010-11, with funding of approximately $48.3 million.
In relation to the honourable member’s question, I am advised that supported accommodation services currently do not record whether or not clients have been in out-of-home care when they request accommodation and other homelessness services. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 provides for assistance for young people who are transitioning from out-of-home care to independent living. Assistance can include help to find accommodation, to undertake education and training or to access income support and healthcare. It also may include referrals to counselling services. Transitioning to independence is a key priority area under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, and New South Wales is working closely with the Commonwealth to improve outcomes for young care leavers.
New South Wales is contributing to the planning of a nationally consistent approach to leaving care and a review of the Transition to Independent Living Allowance. Community Services has implemented a case planning framework and electronic templates for case planning and review that will support consistent case planning, including on leaving care. Objectives addressed in the eight measures of wellbeing in the case plan template focus on supporting the young person’s successful transition to independent living. A key priority of the New South Wales Homelessness Action Plan is a “no exits into homelessness” policy to ensure that young people leaving out-of-home care have access to long-term supported housing. Community Services is working with non-government organisations to implement the Homelessness Action Plan. It leads 32 projects targeting specific client groups. This includes assisting Aboriginal young people leaving out-of-home care to successfully transition to independent living, preventing their homelessness.
14th June 2011
YOUNGER PEOPLE IN RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE PROGRAM
The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Disability Services. With the funding stream for the Younger People in Residential Aged Care Program due to expire in July this year, what arrangements have been made with the Commonwealth Government to ensure the improvement and continuation of this program? Will the Minister maintain or increase the jointly funded $81.2 million commitment of the first five years of the program during the continuation of the program?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I thank the member for another timely question. I will refer it to the Minister and provide her with an answer in due course.
2nd August 2011
YOUNGER PEOPLE IN RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE PROGRAM
On 14 June 2011 the Hon. Jan Barham asked the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Disability Services, a question without notice regarding younger people in residential aged care program. The Minister for Disability Services provided the following response:
The NSW Government is committed to supporting younger people with a disability in, or at risk of entering residential aged care and delivery against the performance benchmark under the National Disability Agreement.
NSW has jointly funded the YPIRAC Program with the Australian Government. The NSW and Australian Governments have each provided a total of $40.6 million over the last five years. Funding of over $25.3 million per annum ($12.6 million from each Government) has now been rolled into the National Disability Agreement funding base and will continue to be used to support younger people with a disability in, or at risk of entering residential aged care.
In April 2011, Disability Services Ministers discussed the future of the YPIRAC Program and agreed that the setting of any new program targets requires joint commitment to additional funding. The Australian Government has not agreed to any additional commitment at this time.
However, we also agreed that good outcomes for this target group cannot be delivered solely by specialist disability services. Disability Officials have been charged with developing an Action Plan that identifies future policy directions to achieve better pathways for younger people in residential aged care in conjunction with other mainstream service systems.
I am committed to working with State and Territory Disability Ministers and the Australian Government and engaging with other portfolio ministers to achieve better outcomes for this group of people.