Have you seen ‘Instant Family’?

This year we have been blessed with generous donations – with your support UMFC has distributed Christmas gifts to over 330 vulnerable children in our local community this year. Thank you to everyone who donated, everyone who collected, wrapped, took presents to families, or even spread the word.

Community support is growing for our Give a Gift appeal – we have an ever increasing number of community groups, community organisations, businesses and individuals to thank. We asked the community to focus on gifts for teens, including vouchers, and they responded. This year, we even had kinder graduates doing chores at home to raise gold coins for our kids. Every little bit helps.

For each and everyone of our helpers, thank you – every bit helps.

Loaves and Fishes are a collective of 12 parishes around Wangaratta providing food relief from Anglicare’s offices. They kindly provided four exquisite hampers for our families.

Christmas Thankyou 1

A special thank you to all the 2020 graduates of Coronation Kindergarten in Wangaratta. The class of ’20 undertook chores at home in return for golden coins to contribute these vouchers for our Give a Gift appeal. Thanks guys!

Christmas Thankyou 2

Thank you to Trish Parkinson and all of the supporters of St Vinnies in North Albury for generously donating these gifts.

Christmas Thankyou 3

A big thank you to Jon and Mark @Charlie’s Wangaratta who have collected presents for us and been instrumental in our achieving partnership support from the Wangaratta Chronicle. Their support led directly to some of the other donors you see here, as well as individuals who came into the office.

Christmas Thankyou 5

Thank you to Chris and Shelley and everyone at North East Exercise Solutions in Wangaratta who generously supported us this year. They heeded the call for gift vouchers for our teens!

Christmas Thankyou 5

Thank you to Julie Skilton and everyone of the parish of St John’s Anglican Church, Wodonga who supported us again this year. This was a marvelous effort given they only resumed services recently.

Christmas Thankyou 6

Thank you to Glen and John delivering gifts on behalf of the parishes of Stanley, Beechworth, and Yackandandah Uniting Churches again this year. Services have been hit this year and we are so grateful for their support.

Christmas Thankyou 7

Thank you to Breanna Thewlis, the staff, children and families of Wangaratta West Primary School who magnificently dug deep to learn the gift of giving to those in need in the local community. We are humbled and honored at your support – you’ve helped make a Christmas to remember for many of our local kids.

Christmas Thankyou 8

Thank you to Kaily Goodsell and everyone at Uniting VicTas for allowing us to help pass on Christmas gifts to those in need in the Border region.

Christmas Thankyou 9

Thank you to Michael and all the staff at Healthfocus Physiotherapy who so generously supported our Give a Gift appeal again this year. Thanks guys!

Christmas Thankyou 10

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Professor Tony Attwood will discuss how children with Autism can be supported in a post-separation context, including developing parenting agreements/parenting orders that are in the child’s best interest.

Presented on 3 December 2020, Tony’s webinar is available until 18 December 2020.

View Recorded Webinar

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Tony Attwood

Professor Tony Attwood

Professor Tony Attwood is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in autism spectrum disorders since he qualified as a clinical psychologist in England in 1975. He currently works in his own private practice and is also an adjunct professor at Griffith University, Queensland and a senior consultant at the Minds and Hearts clinic in Brisbane. His book ‘Asperger’s Syndrome – A Guide for Parents and Professionals’ has sold over 500,000 copies and has been translated into 27 languages. His subsequent book, ‘The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome’, published in October 2006 has sold over 300,000 copies and has been translated into 18 languages, and is one of the primary textbooks on Asperger’s syndrome, otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level 1. He has had several subsequent books published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Future Horizons Inc. and Guilford Press.

Tony has been invited to be a keynote speaker at many Australasian and international conferences. He presents workshops and runs training courses for parents, professionals and individuals with Asperger’s syndrome all over the world and is a prolific author of scientific papers and books on the subject. He has worked with many thousands of individuals of all ages with Asperger’s syndrome or Autism.

Further recorded presentations and live webinars by Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett on various topics relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder for families, carers and professionals can be sourced from www.attwoodandgarnettevents.com

PowerPoint Presentation

Supporting Children With Autism

 

UMFC’s 36th AGM took place on 29 October 2020 at 27 Stanley Street, Wodonga.

Highlights included Greg Pearl receiving Life Membership of UMFC in recognition of his long-serving support to the agency, and the presentation of the Betty McClean volunteer of the year award to Deb Donovan for her 12 years of volunteering with Interchange.

Deb wasn’t able to make it on the day, so Jan caught up with Deb later. Her interview is added to the end of the AGM. You can skip to it here.

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Scientists have learned that neuropsychology, social cognition, and cultural factors affect decision-making. Two types of neuro-psychologically rooted bias can impact how we reason, infer and decide. Cognitive bias refers to heuristics, such as anchoring or confirmatory bias, which contribute to oversimplifying complex matters. Implicit bias refers to social attitudes that result in rapid, and involuntary assessments resulting from feelings and attitudes that operate out of our awareness or the lack of understanding of how people whose experiences are different may affect those inferences and decisions. This webinar will explore such biases and research-based debiasing strategies.

Learning Objectives

Attendees at this program will be able to:

  • Understand and manage the threats to fairness, impartiality and neutrality in family law work
  • Recognize the need to embrace complexity and consider all relevant family issues rather than a “single story”
  • Manage the impact of our own values, experiences, and feelings when formulating conclusions and making recommendations and decisions in family law matters

Presented on 13 October 2020, Philip’s webinar is available until 28 October 2020.

View Recorded Webinar

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Philip Stahl

Dr Philip Stahl

Dr. Philip Stahl is a forensic psychologist in private practice, living in Maricopa County, AZ, who provides consultation and expert witness testimony in child custody litigation throughout the United States and North America. His primary area of specialty is relocation, including complex international relocations. Dr. Stahl conducts trainings throughout the United States and internationally for attorneys, child custody evaluators, judges, and others working with high conflict families of divorce. He is on the faculty of National Judicial College in Reno Nevada, teaching domestic violence to judges since 2000, and he regularly speaks at state judicial colleges. He has been providing training through AU AFCC and other organizations in Australia since 2011.

Along with his teaching, Dr. Stahl has written extensively on high-conflict divorce and custody evaluations. He is the author of Conducting Child Custody Evaluations: From Basic to Advanced Issues, (Sage Publications, 2010) and Parenting After Divorce, 2nd Edition (Impact Publishers, 2008) and is co-author of Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony, (American Bar Association Section of Family Law, 2013).

His most exciting project has been his newest book, written with his daughter Rebecca Stahl, JD, LLM, titled, Representing Children in Dependency and Family Court: Beyond the Law, published by the ABA Family Law Section in June 2018.

PowerPoint Presentation

Decision making in the future

 

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In this one-hour webinar, Dr Rachel Carson presents on the key findings from the ‘Children and young people in separated families: Family Law system experiences and needs’ project, a qualitative study commissioned and funded by the Australian Government through the Attorney-General’s Department. The study aimed to investigate the experiences and needs of children and young people whose parents had separated and had accessed the family law system. This webinar explores the insights from participating children and young people about the issues that are important to them in making post-separation parenting arrangements as well as their experiences with, and reflections on, family law system services. Rachel also provides a snapshot of effective professional practice from the perspective of children and young people.

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department.

Members may access a recording of quotes from the Children and Young People in Separated Parents Study at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vaw_hVOoO8

 

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Rachel Carson

Dr Rachel Carson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

 

Questions and answers

Q&A

 

Our foster care team would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Vuly Play.

Vuly Play have very kindly donated an Ultra Trampoline to our foster care program. Not only are they great fun, keeping kids entertained for hours, trampolines offer many health benefits of outdoor play.

Foster carers make an enormous difference in a child’s life, giving a child the care and support she or he needs to grow, thrive and have a successful future. Generous support from community partners such as Vulu Play helps us strengthen families, and lets our families know that the wider community cares about and for them. Our carers do an amazing job, and these wonderful acts of kindness are a great way to help show our appreciation.

We are always in need of more families and individuals to open up their hearts and homes. Are you interested in learning more about becoming a foster carer?

Learn More

Vuly

Health Benefits of Trampoline Exercise

Did you know that trampolining is 68% more effective than your half hour jog?

On top of being great fun for kids (and adults too), trampolining is also good for:

  • Increased circulation
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Better core strength
  • Improved bone density
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Regulation of the metabolism
  • Increased muscle strength

Check out Vuly’s full range of trampolines, monkey bars, and other outdoor play equipment.

Visit Vuly Website

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In this 90 minute webinar, Robyn Bradey explains what vicarious trauma is, and gives practical strategies for managing it. She also provides extra strategies for working from home.

 

This webinar was hosted by Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network, auspiced by Upper Murray Family Care.

Robyn Bradey

Robyn Bradey

Robyn Bradey (B.Soc.Stud.SYD.) is a mental health accredited social worker with over 40 years’ experience, 29 of those in private practice. She has been a youth worker, a hospital social worker and an administrator. Robyn offers professional supervision to a wide range of health, welfare and legal workers. She has been a counsellor, specialising in loss, grief, trauma, work related stress and injury. Since 2008, she has specialised in training, consulting and supporting the legal profession in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Robyn is currently working as a consultant and trainer for the Federal Court of Australia, the UK Bar and Inns of Court, the New Zealand Law Society, the Bar Association of NSW, the Law Society of NSW, NSW Community Legal Services and a large number of other agencies and organisations. She has written five books and numerous professional papers.

 

A group of local community minded women have formed a group call Border Sisterhood and have raised some much needed funds for UMFC.

A massive thanks for to Tracy Hicks, Steph Garoni, Tracey Wortmann, Kylie King, Karen Randall, Georgia Randall and Jan Bence for putting on such a wonderful event, raising an outstanding amount of $18,450 on the day.

For the full story click Border Cafe

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Foster care has been brought into the spotlight with the release of a new blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures, ‘Instant Family’. The heart-warming drama-comedy gives viewers an insight into the challenges of foster care and adoption.

The film stars Mark Wahlburg and Rose Byrne as a couple who choose adoption to start their family and quickly find themselves adjusting to life with three children. The movie follows the heartbreaking lows and hilarious highs of their journey into foster care.

We asked one of our former foster children who was ‘adopted’ into permanent care what she thought of the movie.

“I identified with so much of the film, especially elements of the children’s characters. Juan is afraid of doing anything that might make the family unlove him while Lizzie is guarded to the point of being aggressive. The ‘I’m not good enough’ story really does replay on a loop when you’re in foster care even when you’re in an ‘instant family’. I think the movie showed that foster care and adoption isn’t about being perfect parents to broken children, it’s just about being there to help repair some of that damage”.

U.S Writer and Director Sean Anders wrote the story based on his own experience adopting three siblings. He says he wanted to shed light on foster care and adoption, as these stories are not often told in mainstream entertainment.

“When I got involved in adoption, and I went to the orientation, and I went to the classes, and support group and all that stuff, I was unfamiliar with every step of that process. I had never seen it depicted in anything. And when I would tell people about how it all worked, everybody had the same reaction: nobody knew anything about it. I just felt that people need to understand this whole system better.”

While the movie is based on the American system, and has been put through the Hollywood lens, the themes ring true for foster care in Australia, Jeanine Aughey – Foster Care worker explained.

‘The movie was surprisingly accurate. It made me laugh and it made me cry but it also showed foster care with total realness. The training and support looks slightly different at UMFC but we cover the same things.’

‘there is a line in the movie where one partner says they aren’t ‘special’ enough to be carers and we always say it’s not about being a superhero, it’s just about being there.’

Foster care in context

The movie portrays the American foster care system and adoption, which differs from the context in Victoria.

In Victoria, the most vulnerable children from our communities rely on kinship (family) and foster carers to provide safety and security. The goal of foster care is to ensure the needs of the child are at the centre and to support the family of origin to stay connected. When reunification is not possible, long-term foster care or permanent care is in the best interest of the child as permanency improves security and stability. However, foster care is also provided on emergency basis, for a few weeks or months or as ‘respite’ to support other ongoing placements.

There is an increased need for foster carers in our region as UMFC is receiving more referrals for children to be placed in home-based care. You can read more about becoming a UMFC foster carer here, or make an inquiry about what is involved.

Thinking about fostering?

Send us an email [email protected] or call us on 02 6055 8000 for more information.

Help Support Local Families During Times of Need. Donate Now or Volunteer.

Aboriginal-Flag

UMFC acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work. We acknowledge their culture is a living one, which relates to their ongoing connection to all things living and non-living on land, sea and sky. We pay our respect to their elders past and present. May our children of today lead us to a better tomorrow.

UMFC acknowledges the support of the Victorian and the Australian Governments

Commitment to Child Safety

All children and young people who access UMFC Services have a right to feel and be safe and to be treated with respect. We are committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment and working towards the best interests of children and young people at all times.