Update from the ACWA Board

ACWA’s Board was delighted to host FACS representatives Gary Groves, Executive Director of Their Futures Matter (TFM), and Lisa Charet, Executive District Director of the Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Districts, at its June Board Meeting.

Gary spoke about the TFM reform agenda and the projects currently happening within the unit. His presentation proved particularly interesting in light of the recent public release of David Tune’s Independent Review of Out of Home Care in NSW, given the TFM has been undertaking some of the work identified in the Tune Report. The Board will be watching this space for practice initiatives.

Lisa was invited to present to the Board about the recent release of state figures showing that the Western Sydney/Blue Mountains region experienced the biggest drop in entries to care. During her presentation, she described the creative and collaborative approach being employed by FACS and other government departments in the western metropolitan region of Sydney to respond to the needs of families, children and young people. The Board looks forward to NGOs being able to join forces with these initiatives in the near future.

The June meeting also saw Board members discuss the impact and ongoing long-term challenges associated with the new contracting arrangements. This continues to create increased workloads for service providers, as well as stress and uncertainty for the workforce and for the children and young people in their care. In acknowledgement of this, the Board believes that structured and formal processes need to be put into place that will provide an opportunity for re-configuring the sector so that services can work together. As a starting point for this, ACWA has been involved in conversations with FACS and AbSec in relation to developing a format for sector meetings.

On a final note, there continues to be a strong interest from agencies working in regional and rural to be kept up to date with the work of the ACWA Board. It is equally important for Board members to have the opportunity to hear directly from regional-based agencies about the issues facing their local communities. In response to this, the Board has decided to conduct a trial of video link ups with regional agencies three times a year. These link ups will take place following Board meetings and will include time for presenting as well as a Q&A session.