Thursday, November 18, 2010

Social Workers win Medicare Mental Health campaign, Government backs down

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is tonight celebrating a campaign victory for mental health services for low income and disadvantaged people.
The Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, have announced that the Government has backed down on its decision to remove social workers and occupational therapists from the Better Access to Mental Health Services program (Better Access).

The removal of social workers was part of the May Federal Budget and the AASW and its members have campaigned strongly against the move since then. The Government agreed to postpone the removal of social workers until April 2011.

“We are delighted that the Government has decided to back down from its decision, which would have removed affordable mental health services from thousand of low income and disadvantaged Australians,” said AASW National President, Professor Bob Lonne.

“The decision shows that the Government listened to the strong campaign run by the AASW and its members. These specialist clinical social workers and their clients will be delighted that they can continue to offer affordable high quality services,” said AASW Acting CEO Karl Charikar.

The removal of social workers from the Better Access program:

* Was not discussed with the AASW or it members prior to budget night in May

* Jeopardised services to tens of thousands of people, as 67% of  social workers bulk bill some or all of their clients

* Would have been particularly hard on people in rural and regional areas, where there are few alternative professionals. 37% of social workers in the program work in regional and rural areas.

* Represented a cost saving of only 4% to the Better Access program budget.

Social workers play a vital role in public mental health services, and also provide high skilled clinical interventions though Better Access, ATAPS (Access to Allied Psychological Service) and other programs. The AASW is pleased that the Government has indicated that it recognizes the value of these clinical services and looks forward to continue to work with the Government to offer advice on the development of services to Australians with mental health issues.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing will speak tonight (Friday) at the AASW AGM in Brisbane, where he will launch the new AASW Code of Ethics.

Further information: Karl Charikar — 0435 201198 Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

ACT to apologise to mothers forced to give up babies

The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed a motion calling for an apology to women affected by forced adoptions. Greens Leader Meredith Hunter put forward the motion to recognise women who were forced to give up their babies under past Commonwealth policies between the 1940s and 1980s.
Ms Hunter told the Assembly a national inquiry should be conducted and the ACT Government should also apologise to those affected. "We have a responsibility to understand what happened and to do our best to ease that suffering," she said.

Community Services Minister Joy Burch amended the motion so the Government apologises on behalf of the Assembly and the wider community. "It's incumbent on all members to apologise as well as the Government," she said.

Western Australia made a similar apology earlier this month

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Apology to child migrants by Children's Services

An apology has been given to child migrants who were sent to Australia by Cornwall's Children's Services in the 1950s and '60s.  Lead councillor for the department, Neil Burden, made the statement to apologise "for the hurt caused". It is thought that about 3,500 children were sent to Australia after the Second World War for a more prosperous future.Many of those child migrants have since told of their sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the country.
Jan Barby was sent in the 1950s to a farm near Orange, west of Sydney, when she was seven-years-old with her two brothers. She has since told of the sexual and physical abuse she suffered while working on the farm.

"It's devastating. It [the farm] will gradually fall down and everyone will forget," Ms Barby said. "I would like people to know that it wasn't a holiday farm like they all seem to think. It should never happen again.
"It's [the apology] not personally going to change my life, because they can't give back what they've taken from my life can they."
Mr Burden was prompted to write the apology after learning that Ms Barby was returning to Cornwall to visit Camborne. In the apology Mr Burden said: "Many children were living in very difficult conditions in the 1950s and 60s and being sent to an orphanage was often their only alternative to a life of poverty.

"I am in no doubt that that those in charge were doing what they thought was in the best interests of these children - Australia was seen as a land of hope, space and opportunity - a great place of adventure.

"I know that many of these are still haunted by what happened to them and I would, I am sure, be joined by many people in Cornwall in offering sincere apologies for the hurt caused."

Eddie Butler, who was sent to Perth from a Catholic orphanage in Bodmin, said: "It's nice to think that we're being thought about.

"I was sent out without my mother's permission, and I never saw my mother again. It's too late now, there's nothing they can do.

"I was brought out when I was 10 years of age. Taken to a hell hole in Western Australia abused in all manners and then 16 years of age put onto the streets of Perth."

Mr Butler said he hoped to use a fund set up by the British government so he and his wife could visit Cornwall.

In 2009 the Australian government apologised for the abuse suffered by the child migrants and this year Gordon Brown made an apology on behalf of the successive UK governments.

A fund of $6m was organised by the Child Migrant's Trust for child migrants to use to visit Cornwall or trace their family.

Rex Wade, was the last child migrant, along with his brother, to be sent to a children's home in Tasmania in 1970.

From one care home to another - but they were thousands of miles apart. He has since returned to Cornwall and lives in St Columb near Newquay.

He said: "It's very noble of him to admit that they have made errors.

"It has come a little too late, but what else can be done now. It affects me everyday, because I don't think it's been closed fully yet.

"It's just knowing that somewhere there's more family and half the time I don't know where to look."

There are no exact numbers of children sent out to Australia, but the Child Migrants Trust estimates about 3,500 made that journey after World War II.

Professor of modern British history at Lancaster University, Stephen Constantine said: "I think it's [the apology] a very important part of enabling child migrants to understand their own position and to get recognition for the hurt they suffered.

"I think the story will not be forgotten. This is now very firmly in the records."

6 September 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Salvation Army apology for survivors of Salvation Army Girls and Boys Homes of Australia

Date: Tuesday 7th December 2010

Where: Old Parliament House, Canberra

Time: 11:30am

A sit down lunch will be provided

RSVP is required as seats are limited

This is not an AFA event. Please call Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) 1800 008 774 to RSVP to this event or to seek more information.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AFA supports AASW's concern over Mental Health Services

AFA delegates are aware that many Forgotten Australians (care leavers) have been accessing counselling through Medicare Registered social workers. AFA is very concerned about the loss of Medicare registered social workers for vulnerable people in the community with emerging and chronic mental illness, particularly those who have experienced and survived childhood abuse and trauma.

Forgotten Australians have gained access to counselling support through services set up in Victoria and Queensland and some access to counselling support is provided in NSW. None of the other States and Territories provide counselling support services to Forgotten Australians and the loss of Medicare registered Social Workers will be devastating to these Forgotten Australians. We are aware anecdotally, that since the National Apology to Forgotten Australians, there has been an increase in demand for access to counselling by the survivors of childhood institutionalisation in Australia. More information is available on the AASW website.

Find and connect service for Forgotten Australians

Media Release - JENNY MACKLIN MP
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Find and connect service for Forgotten Australians
The Rudd Government will help Forgotten Australians and former child migrants reconnect with their families as part of the $26.5 million Find and Connect Service. This investment will help Forgotten Australians and former child migrants trace their personal and family histories and reunite with family members where possible through a records tracing and support service.

We know that for many Forgotten Australians and child migrants who grew up in institutional and foster care, the feelings of loss and abandonment have remained with them throughout their lives. Providing the practical support to help them reconnect with their lost families is one way the Government can help heal the legacy of the trauma and loneliness of lost childhoods.

The Find and Connect Service delivers on the commitments made by the Prime Minister when, on behalf of the nation, he apologised to the estimated 500,000 children and 7,000 child migrants placed in institutional or out of home care in the last century.

Through the Find and Connect Service, people who grew up in institutions and foster care will have access to case management and counselling support services from trained and skilled providers to trace and reconnect with their families.

The national Find and Connect Service will provide:

· a national website and single online access point to help care leavers find records held by past care provider organisations and government agencies, linked to state and territory indexes;
· a national 1800 telephone number for care leavers to call if they want to speak to someone trained to help them locate their personal records;
· a national network of specialised case managers to help care leavers locate and access personal records and, where possible, reunite with family members. Case managers will also connect care leavers with counsellors and other support services where required; and
· new counselling support services, specifically for care leavers, from appropriately trained and skilled providers to provide support for care leavers as they trace their families.

Priority access will be offered for care leavers who are aged or terminally ill. The Find and Connect Service will be developed in close consultation with key stakeholders, including care leavers and state and territory governments.

Date: 11 May 2010

Media contact: Jessica Walker (Macklin) 0430166633

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Group Sheds Light on Dark Childhood Time

FORGOTTEN Australians have met to discuss welfare services that can help them overcome the trauma of their past. The meeting at B-Central on Saturday ...

Aid For The 'Forgotten' (link)

THE ''Forgotten Australians'' can go to state government-funded service Open Place, which opened yesterday in Richmond, for services such as counselling and ...

Welcome to AFA's News Page

We just wanted to welcome you all to our brand new online blog and news page. Here you will find everything you need in way of news about Forgotten Australians from the world of media.

Over the coming weeks we will begin to add more information to this page to keep you up to date with what we're doing here at AFA. You can subscribe to our RSS list if you wish or just check back regularly for updates . Thanks for your patience while we get the new look site and news page going.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More Updates Coming Soon

Over the coming weeks we will begin to add more information to this blog to keep you up to date with what we're doing here at AFA. You can subscribe to our RSS list if you want to have the latest details sent to you or your News Feed Reader. Thanks for your patience while we get the new look site and blog running.