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21 Jun 2017

Tax Appeal 2017 - please support vulnerable kids & families

For more than 120 years CPS has provided non-denominational support to countless vulnerable children and families in your local community. Children and families who’ve suffered the effects of domestic violence, sexual abuse, addiction, neglect and financial stress, among other traumas. Besides free counselling services, CPS is at the forefront of best practice early intervention programs, including group sessional therapy for mums and dads and a ground-breaking early learning centre in West Heidelberg for highly vulnerable pre-schoolers. So that our innovative, dedicated services can continue to protect children and strengthen families and communities, please donate generously to our 2017 Tax Appeal. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. Every donation, however big or small, combines to make a real difference – it ensures that children and families receive the ongoing help they need. Donate Now

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2 Jun 2017

CPS takes local cultural walk for Reconciliation Week

As part of CPS' involvement in Reconciliation Week and our Reconciliation Action Plan implemented last year, this afternoon staff donned their comfortable shoes and warm clothes to get in touch with the Aboriginal heritage of our catchment area. Workers welcomed the opportunity to gain an understanding of the cultural significance of the land as they seek to build cross cultural competency, relationships, practice and knowledge when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. The Heidelberg Cultural Walk was developed by CPS staff member Danielle Mallia with the direction and advice of Aunty Marg Gardiner (and the support of Wurundjeri Tribal elders, Warringal Cultural Society and Banyule City Council). The walk, which begins at picturesque Heidelberg Park and concludes at Sills Bend by the Yarra River, includes a guided audio tour that focuses on four key locations and reflections on the past and present (narrated by Aunty Marg). After colonisation the area was divided and used for farming potatoes, grazing animals and as a market place. Within 5 years, the right to Wurundjeri Traditions & Cultural Practices and Survival Mechanisms in this area were taken away and made illegal. By 1850 Aboriginal families had been separated, removed from their land and forbidden to speak their language and practice ceremonies. Food rations were managed by government officials and Missions were set up. Despite all the dispossession and atrocities, the resilience and strength of Wurundjeri People has enabled culture and language to be retained and revived today by descendant family groups. It really is a beautiful and informative walk and well worth taking at your leisure. For more information on the Heidelberg Cultural Walk see this brochure.

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1 Jun 2017

ACECQA 'Excellent' rating renewed at CPS Child & Family C...

Yesterday CPS was presented a significant tick of approval in the form of the coveted 'Excellent' rating at our West Heidelberg Child & Family Centre. Rhonda Livingstone, Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) Education Leader, made a special visit to present the certificate which represents a tremendous effort and hard work by our Early Years team. CPS in fact operates the first Centre in Victoria to be re-awarded this status.  Furthermore, only 52 services across Australia currently hold the rating out of 13,500 rated centres and of those achieving the benchmark only 7 have been re-awarded by ACECQA. 'One of the really exciting things is that more than half (granted Excellent rating) were in the more disadvantaged communities', noted ACECQA's Rhonda Livingstone who took great interest in touring the facility and learning more about how CPS' ground-breaking program works in practice. Opened in 2009, the Centre was established as part of a dual research program to investigate the impact of an intensive program for vulnerable children aged 0 – 5 years old. This unique Centre supports children (and their parents/carers) so they can realise their full potential and arrive at school developmentally and educationally equal to their peers. As such this is an early intervention program that apart from the short term benefits expects to send these at-risk children on a positive life trajectory. Last year CPS opened the Korin Korin Child & Family Centre in Wollert taking learnings from West Heidelberg and applying them to a universal setting. CPS envisages this initiative will eventually lead to improved early learning/care and life outcomes for vulnerable children and families across Australia. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbPDl9sSmAE[/embed]

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30 May 2017

Father Inclusive Practice Network; fostering better fathers

Now comprising in the order of 150 professionals, the Fathers Inclusive Practice Network continues to gain momentum since being established by CPS in March 2016. Quarterly meetings include a guest speaker presenting on a topical issue faced by professionals in their daily work with children, parents and families and specifically in relation to strategies to enhance the engagement of fathers in community services and programs. The FIPN's primary focus is amplifying the importance of dads on a universal platform. Professionals from a range of disciplines have joined to network as means of accessing a community of practice that works with men and fathers.  The FIPN aims to advocate for father inclusive practice across the community so dads are able to access services, information in relation to their families and their fathering role when they need it and so they feel included in their families and communities from the moment their first child is born. Many fathers can experience stress in the early stages of fatherhood. The FIPN also aims to address some of the father specific issues in the transition to parenthood as well as at key transition points of the family lifecycle. Consequently, fathers benefit from practical information in relation to changes in self, partner relationships and child development. The FIPN is open to all relevant agency workers in the Northern region. Please contact our office to be placed on our mailing list and to receive and update of our guest speaker program. Network members unable to attend meetings will receive minutes from meetings by email. The next meeting is on Wednesday 7 June (10am-12pm) at CPS' Thomastown site. Guest speaker Tim O’Leary is a social worker, therapist and author based in the northern metro area of Melbourne. *For more information on the next meeting or joining the FIPN, please contact Julie Graney on jgraney@cps.org.au or call 9450 0900.    

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24 May 2017

State Government supports new CPS family violence initiative

The Children’s Protection Society (CPS) welcomes the Andrews Labor Government’s latest family violence initiative which entails trialing new ways to provide intensive therapeutic support to women, children and their families experiencing family violence. Minister for Families & Children, Jenny Mikakos, has committed $22.87 million in funding to 26 pilot projects across Victoria. Rather than the traditional crisis response model the funded projects focus on providing a therapeutic response for as long as survivors of family violence require. For CPS this means at-risk children and families will have access to the groundbreaking Children and Mothers in Mind program (CMM). CMM is a unique mother-child program with some elements originating from Canada, specifically designed for mothers and children who have experienced family violence, are no longer living with the perpetrator. CMM recognises that women who have experienced family violence often lose confidence in their ability to parent effectively, particularly if their parenting is or has been undermined or criticised by an abusive partner, leading to isolation and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The program aims to enhance parenting skills, strengthen parent-child relationships and reduce parenting stress. “Children are often the hidden victims of family violence. CPS is extremely grateful for the $2.5m State Government injection into a program with the potential to change the lives of vulnerable mothers and children, both in the short and longer term", said CPS Chief Executive Officer, Aileen Ashford. “We support many school aged clients struggling with the impact family violence has inflicted on their parent or carer’s ability to bond with them. Children and Mothers in Mind can empower vulnerable mums to form these vital bonds and provide the emotional support their child needs in their early years.” CMM represents an Australia-first trial. Eight community service agencies led by CPS will bring together their expertise and experience including a strong track record in providing Family Violence Services. The other agencies include Anglicare Victoria, Minerva Community Services, Caroline Chisolm Society, Moss Incorporated, CASA, Quantum Support Services, MacAuley Community Services for Women and VincentCare Victoria. The evidence informed program will be delivered at five trial sites across Victoria.

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8 May 2017

Lennis 90 not out and still doing it for the kids

If Banyule City Council ever had in mind to erect a statue of their model citizen they should look no further than CPS Op Shop volunteer Lennis Craddock. Lennis, who turned 90 on 22 April, has worked at our Rosanna Op Shop since it opened in 1984 and is still going strong.  She is quite the character in fact, and one needs to be on their game to keep pace with her razor sharp wit. A local resident for 57 years, besides being a Rosanna Bowling Club member Lennis has donated her time to other community organisations (such as Meals on Wheels and the Rosanna Probus committee for the past 18 years). Lennis’ motivation is simple; she volunteers ‘for the joy of people and helping them’. We sincerely thank Lennis on behalf of all CPS clients who’ve benefited from your commitment to our cause. And in this National Volunteer Week we would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our dozens of volunteers who serve at our Op Shop and within our award winning Mentoring Mums program.

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5 May 2017

2017 Lunchtime Rumours Feast: register now!

The 12th Annual Lunchtime Rumours Feast will be held at the salubrious Plaza Ballroom again this year on Friday 11 August. Guaranteed will be a tremendous afternoon of food, fun and fundraising for the thousands of vulnerable children and families CPS supports each year. You can help break the cycle of abuse and neglect to allow children to thrive, so that they can grow up in a safe and nurturing environment. Tables sell quickly so don't delay! CPS Lunchtime Rumours Feast 2017 - Registration Form

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4 May 2017

Jan clocks up 25 years of wonderful service

Today we celebrated a treasured staff member, Jan Roberts, who has provided CPS 25 years of awe-inspiring commitment to children & families. Her work with our Grandparents Group and across our Family Services has touched so many lives and people in need. The celebration at Thomastown featured moving speeches by CPS CEO Aileen Ashford, Team Leader Kathy Gatsis and of course Jan herself, followed by a photo montage of her career. What more can we say but thank you Jan on behalf of all the children and families you have supported over the years.

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30 Mar 2017

CPS worker an inspiring community champion

It goes without saying those who choose to work in a social welfare capacity are community minded and willing to go the extra yard to help anyone in need. CPS is proud to have one such exceptional person, Victoria Dunell, who outside of being a Senior Worker of the Running Start program (identifying affordable rental options for young people), has been an Ambulance Service volunteer for 11 years. Last week she was presented with a National Emergency Medal by Ambulance Victoria. This is in addition to a bravery award and an Order of Australia she previously received for her tireless efforts on Black Saturday and in the aftermath. Of course, Vicky is modest about her community work and it comes as no surprise she keeps her medals in a plastic bag on the shelf in the wardrobe. In typical fashion, Vic jokes that the highlight in receiving her bravery medal in 2010 was being a cover girl at 51 on the front of the Yellow Pages phone book! Donning her First Responder Uniform in this photo, Vic provides some background to her most recent award; “Her Majesty, the Queen approved the award on her visit to Australia in October 2011. The National Emergency Medal recognises significant or sustained service to others in a national significant emergency, including the Victorian bushfires of February 2009.” As the only medical response vehicle covering the Kinglake Ranges on the day of the Black Saturday fires, Team Leader Vicky, her husband Ian and another volunteer put themselves at risk driving through flames to assist people trapped by the fire. Fuelled by adrenaline, Vicky continued working for nine days on minimal sleep, including accompanying doctors to attend houses not knowing what they would find. Obviously it was a traumatic experience beyond most people’s imagining, and acutely so for volunteers in the thick of the drama who also lost a number of people they knew, including a number of children. Typically, Vicky also stepped up in this respect, and for a number of years was a member of a peer program which provides support to fellow emergency workers. She is still on call 2-3 nights per week and additionally undergoes training once per fortnight. Eight years on from Black Saturday Vicky is pleased to report her local community is healing and rejuvenating, however as CPS appreciates with the survivors of trauma we assist, many are and will continue to be affected by their experience.

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17 Mar 2017

Free monthly info sessions for parents

CPS’ Sexual Abuse Counselling and Prevention Program will be offering a monthly Psychoeducation session for parents in the cities of Whittlesea, Yarra, Nillumbik, Banyule and Darebin. Topics include:  Definition of Sexual Abuse;  Myths and Misconceptions regarding Child Sexual Abuse;  What is appropriate sexual behaviour in children and adolescents (when to be concerned);  Barriers for children in disclosing;  Responding to disclosures and talking to children about their experience (do’s and don’ts);  Basic Protective Behaviour strategies to engage with children  Legislation around reporting, failing to disclose, failing to protect and the grooming act The session is free and is located at our Thomastown office at 273 Settlement Road from 6pm-8pm on the following dates in 2017: 26 April 24 May 28 June 26 July 23 August 27 September 25 October 22 November

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3 Feb 2017

New Thomastown mural welcomes clients to CPS

Making a connection and a positive first impression with our clients is so important in terms of commencing the healing process. Children and families visiting our Thomastown office for counselling and therapy will now be greeted with a new mural we trust will help facilitate a journey to a brighter future, one informed by our values of hope, respect, empowerment, leadership and accountability. The story behind the mural commenced last year when CPS engaged the services of 90 Degrees Graffiti and artist Daniel Wenn with a brief to essentially create a piece that is positive, colourful and engaging. Various ideas and elements were trialled and the feedback sought from selected counsellors proved valuable in ensuring the right tone and balance was achieved. Producing a non-threatening mural that appealed to infants through to teenagers, boys and girls, was challenging. Another consideration was representing a local community feel (hence the aboriginal footballer in the Fitzroy Stars guernsey, suburban pointer signs, children in the balloon and South Morang train). Whilst there’s something to be said for the calming effect of the old green wall the mural has replaced, hopefully the new look will add colour to the day of the children (and children at heart) who pass through our doors.

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22 Dec 2016

CPS Professional Development Opportunities in 2017

In 2017 CPS will be launching a range of professional development opportunities for child care workers, teachers and other professionals who work with children and young people. The first series of training offered by CPS' new professional development and education unit is Responding to Child Abuse.  This training contributes to organisational requirements to comply with the Victorian Child Safe Standards.  This workshop provides participants with an overview of all forms of child abuse and helps participants to recognise the signs of trauma displayed by children who have experienced abuse. Strategies for responding to, and supporting those children are then explored. FLYER AND BOOKING LINK CPS is a recognised leader in delivering training in areas such as ‘Responding to Child Abuse’, ‘Responding to Sexually Abusive Behaviors’, ‘Talking to Children about Safety’ and ‘Working with Vulnerable Families’.   Our experienced Learning and Development Team is passionate about the work that CPS does and offer evidence-based, best-practice workshops that are interactive, engaging and will develop your knowledge in working with children and young people who have experienced abuse and trauma. Training is delivered at the Children’s Protection Society offices located at 70 Altona Street, West Heidelberg and 273 Settlement Road, Thomastown.  Alternatively we are able to deliver training at your offices, with an option for after-hours training. For further information please contact us on (03) 9450 0900 or email us at training@cps.org.au.

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august

11aug12:00 pm- 3:00 pm3AW Lunchtime Rumours Feast