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

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.

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

Thank you for your donation

Thanks to your support, the 2015 Connections Christmas Food & Gift Appeal was a great success! We supplied 3652 gifts and 498 food hampers to families and individuals in need.

With the generosity of the many schools, churches, individuals, organisations, members of parliament who donated their office space and Target stores and their customers, we received a total of $89, 861.60 worth of food and gifts.  

We received a total of 10, 397 items and the approximate value of items donated was valued at $8.65.

With the support of Connections’ Case Workers, clients were able to access the appeal and receive essential items right up until to Christmas Eve.

“Our Appeal is the most effective way the community can help disadvantaged families, individuals and young people.

“Each year we ask the local community to show their support of our work and this year the community has exceeded our expectations once more. We express our sincere gratitude to everyone who gave what they could,” said Connections' Acting Manager, Community Relations, Ms Kirrilee Torney.


FIND OUT MORE>> Where your donations to our Christmas Appeal go, visit youtube.com/connectionsuc

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Call for abtracts extended

The closing date for the submission of abstracts has been extended to Friday 12 February.

The Connections UnitingCare Conference: Making Lives Better - Improving Life Outcomes for Vulnerable Children and Families, will explore how we build services around clients in a changing, complex world.

conference, making lives better, community, organisation, sector, nfp

We are keen to receive papers which explore and address innovative ideas which respond to the needs of vulnerable children and families in the community.

We encourage submissions from a range of organisations and individuals who can contribute to our knowledge of current practices and interventions which are making the lives of vulnerable children and families better.

The conference will focus on four key sub themes:

1. Cultural responsiveness and awareness
> How agencies manage client’s needs in a culturally sensitive way.
> How agencies manage with less specialist services being available.

2. Early intervention
> How the development of practical skills and tools can help with early intervention.
> Programs that demonstrate vision and innovation which make a real difference and give hope to vulnerable families.

3. Measuring change in the context of challenge
> Dealing with complex families and demonstration of positive outcomes.
> Trauma informed practice in the context of working with clients.
> Innovation in practice and managing demand.
> Examples of latest research and theoretical framework with positive outcomes for clients.

4. Workforce development
> How multidisciplinary teams function effectively to improve outcomes.
> Examples of how working collaboratively has improved outcomes for clients.
> Programs with frameworks that are transferable to different contexts.


This two-day conference will offer a broad range of presentation styles, including:

> Oral presentations
> Interactive workshops
> Poster presentations


When: 25 – 26 May 2016.
Where: Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.
Registration: Save $100 off the standard price with our early bird rate of $595 (early bird offer closes 1 May 2016).
 
  

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