Released: Connections News - Autumn Edition

The Connections News, Autumn Edition is now available.

Inside you will be able to read about Connections' successful funding bid to establish a Family Links program in the Southern Metropolitan area, which is designed to support children and families who have a loved one incarcerated. Family Links aims to reduce the social and emotional impact of parental imprisonment on children and provide a coordinated response to an aspect of family support which previously has not existed in the area. 

You will also be able to read about how successful our 2016 Chrismas Food and Gift Appeal was and how we were able to help provide a happier and brighter Christmas to over 450 families. Over $100,000 in donations made the 2016 appeal one of our best on record. Thank you for your support. 

We also highlight Connections' Home-Start program and ask any of our supporters if they are able to spare two hours a week, have parenting experience and would like to help other families build stronger relationships with their children. If you are able to help, our Home-Start coordinator wants to hear from you. If someone you know would be suitable for this important volunteer role, please let them know. 

Thank you for your continued interest and support for our work. 

Click here to read Connections News – Autumn Edition.

 

 

 

 

Three children's search for their 'Forever Families'

Permanent homes urgently needed for three very special children aged 6-13.

We are appealing to the local community to help find loving, nurturing, and devoted homes for three children in need through our Permanent Care program.

Connections’ Permanent Care program facilitates the placement of children, who are unable to live with their family of origin, due to risk or experience of serious abuse, neglect, or harm.

Leo (8) and his sister Minnie (6) have been living in care together for over four years. They are currently with a foster family, but we are desperate to find the right 'forever family' for these two very special kids.

Both children have some trauma related behaviours due to early life experiences, but are engaged with a therapeutic service and attend weekly counselling sessions. Like so many brothers and sisters, Leo and Minnie love talking about one another, and obtain comfort from each other when it comes to new situations.

Luca (12) has been living with his grandmother for two years now, but things are now at the stage where she is unable to continue caring for him. Luca is in Grade 5 and has been assessed with a mild form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He enjoys school and doesn't require an aide in class, and is emotionally mature.

All three of the children have specific requirements around contact with their remaining family members.

Program Leader Prue Walker believes many members of the local community are unaware of the need for permanent care families, particularly for older children and siblings.

"It is important that couples wanting to start a family realise there are other options out there that exist beyond traditional methods,” said Ms Walker.

“All of the children who come through our program are longing for loving and caring families. They each have their own unique stories but unfortunately, they have all had an unstable start to their lives.

“We are calling out to anybody who thinks they may have room in their lives to provide these special children with a home, to make contact with us today,” said Ms Walker.

 

For more information about Connections' Permanent Care program, visit connections.org.au/foreverfamily or call us on 03 9521 5666

Released: Connections News - Summer Edition

The Connections News, Summer Edition is now available.

We have made it through another year and I cannot believe how far we have travelled. I really enjoy this time of year as it provides an opportunity to reflect on all we have been able to achieve and how we have made the lives of those with whom we work better.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated staff who work so hard, sometimes under challenging circumstances, to support those most marginalised and disadvantaged in our community. Although I thanked them at our recent Christmas Staff Forum, I wanted to take this opportunity to also acknowledge their efforts in a more public way. Many of the stories we highlight in this newsletter reflect their achievements and it is important we recognise this.  

The Annual WJ Craig Lecture and Presentation of the Anti-Poverty Awards is one event I look forward to and an event we are proud to host each year. This year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of our Lecture and in this newsletter, we share with you Seri Renkin’s thought-provoking speech and introduce to you the young people who were recognised for the significant contribution they are making to a more just society.   

We also share with you the story of Emily, who is struggling to provide the best Christmas she can for her young children. Our Christmas Food and Gift Appeal is in full swing and we ask for your help in collecting gifts and non-perishable food items which will be distributed to families in need. Your donation will ensure Emily, her girls and others like them, will have a Christmas to remember.  

On behalf of everyone at Connections, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the work of Connections. We look forward to sharing more with you in 2017.

If you would like to receive the newsletter each season, please register here.

Click here to read Connections News – Summer Edition.

Thank you for your continued support of our work.

With best wishes,
 
Angela Forbes
Chief Executive Officer

UnitingCare Australia Redoubles Efforts to Address Housing and Homelessness

A national forum of 40 frontline UnitingCare service providers held in Sydney on 27 October 2016, has committed to developing a national action plan to work with government to address housing and homelessness in Australia.

“Every day our frontline community services across the country despair at the number of people living in Australia without the fundamental human need of housing,” UnitingCare Australia Acting National Director, Martin J Cowling said.

“Our services have told us that the issue is getting worse, not better. In fact, we believe it now represents a national crisis.

“As such, we believe the issue requires strong national leadership and a national response strategy.

“Our service providers yesterday committed to developing a UnitingCare Australia response strategy as we seek to work constructively and collaboratively with government to help shape the way forward.

“We recognise that governments are already contributing large amounts of funding and resources, but believe it’s time to seriously examine new directions.”

Mr Cowling said the forum also provided an opportunity for services to share the many innovative solutions they are implementing to address the pressing needs of the homeless in their communities.

“Stable and safe housing underpins functional families and communities.

“Australia has the resources to ensure that everyone experiences belonging in a safe and supportive community, with appropriate housing.

“Homelessness impacts on the health and wellbeing of older people, on the capacity of children, youth, Indigenous people and those from a culturally diverse background, to achieve their potential to contribute to society and the economy, and on the ability of Australians with disability or a mental health issue to lead a dignified life.

“To successfully address the issue it will be vital for different levels of government, and private and not-for-profit organisations like ourselves, to work together,” Martin Cowling said.


UnitingCare Australia operates at 1,600 sites across the country.

For more information, visit unitingcare.org.au

The One Million Stars to End Violence Project

Connections is excited to be participating in the One Million Stars Project to End Violence - Weaving communities of courage to end violence.

This movement was created by Maryann Talia Pau and aims to place a spotlight on violence during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Maryann picked stars as the symbol for her project as they represent light, courage and solidarity. Maryann’s aim is to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.

The Million Stars project is an opportunity for us to be light and hope in the world and to make something beautiful and powerful together. We know that domestic violence, violence on our streets, racism and harassment is happening RIGHT NOW and often it is difficult to know what to do to help those who are suffering and to help prevent it.” (Maryann Talia Pau)

Connections is aiming to contribute 5,000 stars to the campaign.

Watch this video on how to make your own stars.

Every woven star reminds us that we have to make peace and safe spaces and that it doesn't just happen.” (Maryann Talia Pau)

We encourage everyone to get on board this wonderful initiative. For more information visit onemillionstars.net.

The 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture and Presentation of Anti-Poverty Awards

We warmly invite you to attend the 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture & Presentation of the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards.

This year's Lecture will be delivered by Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation.

Seri brings over twenty years’ experience in senior executive and advisory roles to her leadership of the ten20 Foundation. Having worked across the corporate, non-profit, philanthropic and government sectors, Seri has a unique perspective of how diverse sectors operate.

She utilises her strategic, innovative and entrepreneurial skills to build cross sector collaborations focussed on social impact. She joined ten20 as founding CEO in 2012.


About the WJ Craig Lecture
The Annual WJ Craig Lecture honours Connections’ history and the philanthropic legacy of William John Craig (1839 – 1899) and his family, which endures in the work of Connections to this day.

The Lecture aims to stimulate and encourage debate on important social issues.

About the Anti-Poverty Awards
The Anti-Poverty Awards recognise the many young people passionately working towards tackling inequality and injustice within Australia or abroad.

The awards acknowledge and highlight the hard work and dedication of individuals and schools across Australia who demonstrate a deep understanding of those in need.


When: Friday 21 October 2016

Where: Deakin Edge
Federation Square
1 Batman Avenue
Melbourne

Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

RSVP: Christine Williams rsvp@connections.org.au or 1800 137 036 by Friday 14 October 2016

RSVP is essential

Refreshments provided

16 Sep 2016

Released: Connections News - Spring Edition

The Connections News, Spring Edition is now available.

It is core to our philosophy that we are absolutely committed to preventing violence against women, and consequently, children.  

As a community service organisation with a strong reputation in the community, we can use our status and our influence to enter into public conversations about preventing violence against women and support a workplace where we have conversations about gender equality.

It is with this in mind, we are thrilled to be one of four organisations, and the only community organisation piloting an exciting new project with Our Watch. The Workplace Equality and Respect Project was launched on Wednesday 24 August 2016 by Fiona Richardson, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Minister for Women.  

I encourage you to read more about this important initiative in our newsletter.  

I also want to extend a very warm invitation to you to attend the 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture and the Presentation of the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards. This year we are delighted to have Seri Renkin, CEO of the ten20 Foundation delivering what we think will be a powerful lecture.  

If you haven't already, may I also encourage you to read about the work of the talented young people and schools who have been nominated for the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards.  

Each year, I am moved by the motivation and commitment of the young people who apply. Through their actions, whether they are working in communities in Australia or overseas, they have taken up the challenge of making a difference and are working toward the common good.

Once again, I thank you for your support and hope you continue to be inspired by our work in your local community.

If you would like to receive the newsletter each season, please register here.

Click here to read Connections News – Spring Edition.

Thank you for your continued support of our work.

With best wishes,
 
Angela Forbes
Chief Executive Officer

National Child Protection Week

National Child Protection Week invites all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. “Protecting children is everyone’s business.”

National Child Protection Week, now in its 26th year, supports and encourages the safety and wellbeing of Australian children and families through the Play Your Part Awards, events, programs and resources.

NAPCAN’s campaign aims to provide communities and individuals with practical information on how to ‘Play Your Part’ and to embed primary prevention messages into social discourse. It also provides a platform for communities to be empowered, resourced and mobilised to take action at a local level.

Playing your part can range from encouraging children and young people’s participation in their community to hosting a National Child Protection Week event or promoting a family-friendly environment at your work.

This year NAPCAN encourages you to build on “Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business: Play Your Part” by focussing on the theme ‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children’. This theme emphasises the importance and value of connected communities in keeping children and young people safe and well.

Communities in which children are seen and heard, where their participation is valued and where their families can get the support they need are stronger communities which contribute to keeping children safe and well.

Connections has a zero tolerance towards child abuse and is committed to establishing and maintaining child safe and child friendly environments.

To find out how you can play your part keeping children safe, click here.

07 Sep 2016

Adoption equality starts now

From 1 September 2016, the Adoption Amendment Act 2015 came into effect, meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) couples can now apply to adopt in Victoria.

As a provider of Adoption and Permanent Care Services, Connections has followed this topic with great interest and welcomes this important amendment.

For a long time it has been our belief that Victoria’s Adoption Legislation was outdated and did not reflect the basic human rights of prospective LGBTI applicants. It is pleasing to finally see the Victorian Parliament also recognise this antiquated attitude and make the necessary changes.

We know there are many healthy infants who require a loving home but for many years have been denied this access because the Act excluded the LGBTI community.

This change now provides LGBTI couples with the same rights as any other couple to provide a loving home to a child looking for its forever family and will provide more opportunities for children to be matched with the best possible family.  

The changes also reflect that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is distinct from their capacity to be a loving and caring parent.

We again would like to acknowledge the role of the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley in advocating for rights of same-sex couples and reiterate our full support of this amendment.

Prospective parents should contact the Department of Health and Human Services or an approved adoption agency to apply.

Visit dhs.vic.gov.au/adoption for more information.

Gawler East Primary School students are true global citizens

Gawler East Primary School in South Australia was the recipient of the 2015 Anti-Poverty Awards School Award.

It is the first time in the awards’ history that a primary school has won the award; highlighting children are learning early the value of thinking about others and the call to action which can occur.

“Throughout this whole process our students learnt they can be true global citizens. They realised they have a voice and can promote real change around the world”, said classroom teacher, Ms Anita Marling-Bauer.

“We hope this experience will be just the start of them thinking of others less fortunate than themselves.

“The Anti-Poverty Awards make real for children and young people the knowledge that they can contribute, no matter what age they may be, for the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Ms Marling-Bauer.


  • Do you know a young person aged 16-30 working towards tackling inequality and injustice within Australia or abroad?
  • Do you know a school involving and educating its students about poverty-related issues?


If this sounds like you or someone you know, apply now!

Any school or young person aged 16-30 working on a project to overcome poverty within Australia or overseas is encouraged to apply.


Applications for the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards have been extended until 11:59pm AEST Friday 9 September 2016.

For more information about the awards, visit antipovertyawards.org.au or contact anti-poverty@connections.org.au.

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