Posts tagged Children
From “mothers having babies” to “people raising families”: Policy and cultural change at Baker McKenzie for inclusive parenting leave

There are many reasons to support fathers taking leave at the birth of a child, including indications that taking time off to be with a newborn results in increased parental engagement across childhood – an area that continues to have a strong gender imbalance in Australia – and supporting a host of other positive outcomes, including maternal wellbeing and narrowing the gender pay gap.

Yet few fathers are encouraged to or, in many cases, are unable to take parental leave at the time of birth, and often unsupportive policy creates the first barrier. In today’s analysis, Kirsty White of law firm Baker McKenzie’s Diversity and Inclusion team shares how the organisation has made history by being the first law firm in Australia to provide gender-equal parental leave, and describes some of the challenges and benefits.

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Taking the pulse on men’s parenting and care work: The State of the World’s Fathers

The third iteration of the global report The State of the World’s Fathers was launched on 16 June, at the Women Deliver Global Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The bi-annual report highlights progress and gaps for equalising care in 7 OECD countries, as well as analysis from five countries in the Global South. The report importantly also tracks changes in attitudes and social norms. Today’s analysis provides a summary of the report, an initiative of the MenCare Campaign (@MenCareGlobal), which is led by Promundo (@Promundo-US). Australia is in dire need of more progressive policies that enable men to take an active role in parenting and caring; this global overview provides important insights for how it can be done well.

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Child support and the F word

Poverty in Australia appears to be entrenched for many marginalised groups, and this is a concern which is regularly raised in the lead-up to the Federal election – is Australia “fair”? However, one policy area on which there is resounding silence is child support. In today’s federal election series, Kris Natalier (@KrisNatalier) of Flinders University and Terese Edwards (@Terese_NCSMC) of the National Council for Single Mothers and their Children argue that child support reform is urgently needed to reduce poverty levels and improve financial and psychological wellbeing for some of Australia’s most disadvantaged families.

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Childcare dreaming: a vision for early childhood care

Childcare policy is always fraught, because so many people want it to be better, but everyone has their own ideas about what is needed. Yarrow Andrew, who worked for 15 years in long day childcare as an educator, before beginning a research career investigating early childhood education gives us some ideas about how to reform the sector.

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ParentsNext doesn’t get much right – but it could with some meaningful co-design

This week the Senate Inquiry into ParentsNext, including its trial and subsequent broader rollout published its first round of submissions. This follows months of public scrutiny after the program’s national rollout in July 2018. Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) and Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) summarise Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand’s (@GoodAdvocacy)’ submission to the inquiry and suggest an alternative approach.

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Australia’s child support system facilitates economic abuse

We have previously posted analyses of how Australia’s child support system is detrimental to women’s financial security and wellbeing, and how the welfare system meets the definitional criteria for economic abuse. In today’s post, Kris Natalier (@KrisNatalier) shares findings from her recent research, which indicates that the Australian child support system perpetuates power inequalities and ongoing economic abuse.

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Fathers face a flexibility stigma: Time for policy and cultural change to support fathers using flexibility

The government has a strong focus on supporting women back into paid employment following the arrival of children. However, current initiatives don’t go far enough to remove barriers for many mothers to engage in career-oriented employment. In today’s analysis, Ashlee Borgkvist (@ashb_6) of the University of Adelaide (@UniofAdelaide) examines the barriers men face in accessing paid parental leave and explains how increasing uptake will result in better outcomes for mothers, fathers and children.

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Snakes and ladders: The experience of single mothers on Welfare to Work

Single mother households are the most disadvantaged household type in Australia. The Welfare to Work policy is intended to help single mothers engage with employment, increase their self-reliance and improve their financial security. Today’s post summarises a new report by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand that is being launched at the ACOSS National Conference. Authored by Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady), Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) and Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah), it is titled “Outside systems control my life”: The experiences of single mothers on Welfare to Work, and draws on in-depth interviews.

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Justice, parents and child protection: a role for a Charter of Rights?

We spend a lot of time as a local, national and global community considering the wellbeing of children and what is in ‘the best interest of the child’ when they are at risk of abuse and neglect. We spend much less time considering the rights and responsibilities of parents and other family members who have children in the care of child protection services. It is time for a Charter of Rights for Parents and Families, argues Sharynne Hamilton from the Telethon Kids Institute at the University of Western Australia.

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Forced marriage in Australia: Looking beyond the law

At the moment, the Australian Government is examining modern slavery and developing a comprehensive response to how it presents in Australia. In today’s analysis, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs and Laura Vidal of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand explore the opportunities this presents for creating a more effective response to instances of forced and child marriage.  This article is an edited extract of a keynote presentation given at a ‘Good Conversations’ event hosted by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand at Melbourne Town Hall on 7 June 2018.

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Lessons on Child and forced marriage: reflections on progress towards global eradication

One in five girls globally is married before her 18th birthday, representing 650 million girls. While this number is high, it has dropped significantly in the past 10 years, when the ratio was one in four. This is a serious breach of human rights – one that extends to within the borders of Australia.

Recently the largest-ever gathering on child marriage was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—The Global Meeting of Girls Not Brides: Global Partnership to End Child Marriage (The Global Meeting). 500 delegates from over 70 countries joined together over three days to connect, learn and strategise toward a common goal: allowing every girl, everywhere, to fulfil her potential. Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand’s Laura Vidal was the only delegate to participate from Australia and shares some of her insights.

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Building stronger schools is everyone’s business

The Education Equity Coalition, under the auspices of VCOSS, has recently launched the Stronger Schools campaign. This coalition comprises a range of social service, youth, and education agencies, and has collaborated to create an action plan for inclusive education. The eight components that make up the platform are designed to address holistic, comprehensive support that will support all children and young people to stay engaged in education.

In today’s blog post, Jessie Mitchell from the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (@YACVic) explains why YACVic supports the Stronger Schools campaign, and how the community sector can support schools to keep children and young people engaged. This blog post originally appeared on the YACVic web site, and can be found here.

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What counts as work and income for parents in the new economy? An opportunity lost in the roll out of the new Child Care Package

Today the government’s new Child Care Package is being rolled out. While it may be a positive for middle-class families who earn their incomes in a ‘traditional’ manner, the implications for families in more precarious employment is not so clear. In today’s post, Kay Cook (@KayCookPhD) of Swinburne University walks us through the new package and what it means for workers who are increasingly reliant on precious employment.

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By all means raise the rate, but while we’re at it…

With a majority of Australians supporting an increase to the Newstart allowance (current below the poverty line), the #RaisetheRate campaign has been taken up by many in the lead-up to Federal elections. In today’s blog, Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand argues that, while raising the rate is the right thing to do, it’s also important to strengthen the other policies that govern differing aspects of financial security. This is particularly so for single mothers, who are often victims of both punitive government policies and post-separation economic abuse from former partners.

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No roses (or support) for the ‘undeserving’: Deconstructing how Australian policy punishes single mums

While planning their own Mothers’ Day celebrations in lieu of the absent fathers, Emily Wolfinger (@Ewolfi10) and Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand reflect on the devaluing of caring work in social policy and its implications for women parenting alone.

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Improving Mental Health Support for Children in the Care of the UK State

There are complex policy and practice issues as well as tensions in where responsibility lies in relation to mental health needs of children in the care of the state in the UK.  Collaboration across many organisations and leadership from key individuals in the system are essential for the needs of these most vulnerable children to be better met. There is a moral imperative and a financial incentive to getting this right. Alison O’Sullivan explores the role of corporate parenting at a time of increased focus on meeting the mental health needs of children in the UK, making the case for improved mental health support for children in the care of the state as an important part of the solution. 

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Australia’s response to early and forced marriage: Better, but still lacking

In today’s post, Laura Vidal, who recently joined Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, discusses best practice solutions to early and forced marriage, particularly in light of recent Australia policy changes. Due to her work in both service delivery and policy responses to individuals who have experienced human trafficking and slavery, Laura received a 2017 Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, which took her on a study tour to 6 countries (Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Denmark, United States, Canada and Kenya) to inform responses to early and forced marriage.

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