ROYAL COMMISSION TOLD CHILDREN CARED FOR BY RELATIVES HIDDEN IN SYSTEM
Nobody knows how many children are being cared for by relatives in “informal” arrangements because they never come to the attention of any system, the royal commission has heard. “The informal out of home care system … offers no legal protection for the child, an aunty or uncle may be looking after the child on just whatever basis,” Alliance for Forgotten Australians chair Caroline Carroll told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. “We have got carers that we know of who have chosen not to take payment or have never been offered payment. Those carers will be offered or asked to take a child but they are never told of any financial support and they do it tough.”
Grandparents Australia director Anne McLeish said the number of informal carers may well be the fastest growing form of care in the country but there was no way of knowing for sure. “Informal cases very rarely come to the attention of the system, we need to do more to embrace the informal arrangements,” she said. “Nobody knows about these arrangements. The biggest growth area we don’t know about is the result of internal family decisions. We asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics to include in the census a range of questions to actually unpack this but this has never been done.” Ms McLeish said carers were finally able to use the result of decades of research about the effect of trauma in children in their own roles.
Trauma casts a long shadow on children in care. “Last week we had a case where a grandchild has started acting up nine years after securing a place with her grandmother. There is some buried history of sexual abuse coming out nine years later,” she said. Witnesses at the hearing again highlighted a “paucity” of carers entering the care system and more leaving it which “creates opportunities” for better processes developed in the past decade to be abandoned, exposing children to risk of harm. “There are jurisdictions where working with children checks have not been effectively introduced yet, you have cases where personal references are not checked,” Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci said.
PARENTS AND SCHOOLS WARNED ABOUT HARM ASSOCIATED WITH GENDER IDEOLOGY
A new ground-breaking report on gender identity is warning parents and school leaders to be wary of the guidelines and policies being pushed in schools and communities, and that gender identity ideology is founded more on political ideology than it is in careful science and experience. This report explains how the issue is not as simple as many are making it out to be, and that there are many facts parents and community leaders must know about. The report draws from decades of mainstream academic and international research, and seeks to bring clarity to this topic and practical advice for schools, parents and community leaders, for the wellbeing of children. The report was commissioned by family group Family First NZ.
It was produced in response to a number of media stories involving confused children, and ‘gender identity’ guidelines being pushed by governmental groups and advocacy organisations. “Children are being indoctrinated with the message that they can identify themselves as either male, female, in between, both, or neither.’ Secondary schools are being told that ‘Gender identity refers to what a person thinks of themselves as, either a man or a woman, irrespective of their biological sex.’ Schools are being bullied by government and advocacy groups into adopting policies around uniforms, toilets, change rooms and sports teams rather than heeding the warnings and research of scholars and clinicians,” says Bob McCoskrie, from Family First NZ.
The report says: “Even whilst realising these issues are very personal and deeply felt, it is unwise to allow emotions to drive the decision and policy-making process related to such issues. We must take a sober understanding and appreciation of what the leading scholars and clinicians have to tell us on these issues. Their voices should be heard more clearly and strongly than the various advocacy groups of any stripe” particularly as they impact our children. The report also includes an essay from a former transsexual who warns that parents who play around with a gender change for their child are engaged in a dangerous, high-stakes game, and that a child with gender identity issues needs psychiatric or psychological help, not a change of wardrobe or hairstyle.
Defence has appointed a Muslim cleric to its religious advisory panel, even though there are under 100 Muslims in the defence force. Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert said Imam Mohamadu Nawaz Saleem would join the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services which provides a link between the Australian Defence Force and the governing bodies of faith groups. It now consists of five members from the Christian faith, one Jewish member and one Muslim member. He will work with the Muslim community and other members of the religious advisory panel in providing advice on the religious and spiritual wellbeing of all members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Mr Robert said Imam Saleem was nominated by the Australian National Imams Council and was a highly experienced Muslim cleric with formal qualifications in law and academia. He is also an Associate Chaplain with the Victoria Police. Mr Robert said defence needed to widen its recruitment pool and tap into a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce. “Increasing the breadth of the religious advisory panel to include the Muslim faith also reflects the ADF’s pastoral care responsibilities for all its members and is entirely consistent with Defence’s commitment to cultural reform,” he said in a statement.