Based on the ‘Hand Out to Hand Up’ Report (Noel Pearson, May 2007)
Agenda for Reform Unacceptable indicators for Indigenous compared with non-indigenous Australians Corrosive effect of passive welfare – a range of Government policies beginning in 1970s and 1980s has displaced responsibility from Indigenous people. General need for fundamental rethinking of community functioning and service provision Indicator Indigenous Australians compared with non Indigenous Australians Infant mortality Infant mortality rates 2-3 times higher- Birth weight Low to extremely low birth weight twice as likely School Attendance School attendance in some areas of Cape York eg Aurukun averages 40 % Alcohol sales Per capita consumption in Cape York communities is around 4 to 4.5 times the national average Children on protection orders Indigenous children in Qld are almost five times as likely to be subject to a protective order
What is Cape York Welfare Reform? The CYWR is a series of integrated initiatives that will test new approaches to: Linking access to welfare payments conditional on obligations regarding behaviour Increasing individual responsibility and active participation within the community and real economy, and Achieving integrated service delivery and reform that removes disincentives which cause dependency cycles and achieves better outcomes
Partners Individuals and Families Local Leadership: Councils (Aurukun and Hopevale) and Community Leaders (Coen and Mossman Gorge) Queensland Government Australian Government Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) Service Providers – Non- Government/Regional/Contracted organisations
What trial is all about? 1.Rebuilding positive social norms 2.Restoring local Indigenous authority 3.Supporting community and individual engagement in the ‘real economy’ 4.Moving individuals and families from welfare housing to home ownership. 5.Normalising Government responsibility and involvement
New service delivery models Wellbeing Centres established in all four trial communities - jointly funded between AG and QG Family Income Management Services in all four communities – funded by the AG School Attendance Case Managers in all four communities – funded by the AG Parenting Programs establishment in all four communities
New service delivery models Wellbeing Centre service delivery model incorporates Clinical assessments, Formal and informal counselling, Support for individuals and their families, Case co-ordination, Referral to other services and Support community-driven activities that build community capacity.
The four CYWR Communities Aurukun Hope Vale Mossman Gorge Coen
The Cape York Welfare Reform Communities are: Aurukun Aurukun is on the western coast of Cape York and is approximately 900 kls northwest of Cairns and about 200 kls south of Weipa. Estimated resident population of 1209 people at 30 June 2009. Coen The township of Coen is about halfway between Cairns and the tip of Cape York. It is not a discrete Aboriginal community and is part of Cook Shire. Estimated resident population of 272 people at 30 June 2009. Hope Vale Hope Vale is situated on the Cape York Peninsula and is 46 kls northwest of Cooktown. Estimated resident population of 832 people at 30 June 2009. Mossman Gorge Mossman Gorge is a small Aboriginal community 75 kls north of Cairns, 4 kls from Mossman. It is not a discrete Aboriginal community and is part of the Cairns Regional Council area. Estimated resident population of 147 people at 30 June 2009.
Population figures Aurukun: 1209 Persons 0 – 16 years416 17 years & over793 Hope Vale: 832 Persons 0 – 16 years 250 17 years & over 582 Coen: 272 Persons 0 – 16 years 80 17 years & over192 Mossman Gorge: 147 Persons 0 – 16 years 48 17 years & over 99
Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 passed in the Queensland Parliament on 13 March 2008 The FRC is an Independent Statutory Authority which commenced operation on 1 July 2008 FRC provides an “official” structure within the community where norms around appropriate and inappropriate behaviour can be negotiated and communicated FRC jurisdiction applies to people (Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal): who are welfare recipients or CDEP participants; and who reside (or resided at relevant times) in trial communities
Objectives of the FRC 1. To support the restoration of socially responsible standards of behaviour and local authority in welfare reform communities 2. To help people in welfare reform community areas to resume primary responsibility for the wellbeing of their community and the individuals and families of the community
Who makes up the FRC? Commissioners: Commissioner David Glasgow, former Magistrate Local Commissioners – 25 Elders or Respected People from the four communities appointed by the Governor in Council Cairns Registry Office: Tammy Sovenyhazi - Registrar Noel Morich – Executive Officer Sharon Newcomb – Principal Case Manager 13 Administrative staff Local Registry Office based in each community: Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge Local Coordinator (resident in each community)
Priorities of the FRC The focus of the FRC is primarily on early intervention and the wellbeing of children. Our priorities are: School Attendance and Child Safety Notifications Raising local authority in each community - already seeing some positive impacts with Local Commissioners regularly called upon by government agencies and community members to provide guidance and advice Assisting community members subject to the FRC to make decisions to change their lives and assist them through the processes
Decide Conference GO/NO GO Decide Conference GO/NO GO Hold Conference Hold Conference Outcome: Agreement or Order Outcome: Agreement or Order Agencies FRC Staff 1.INTAKE 3. CONFERENCE2. ASSESSMENT4.DECISION5. COMPLIANCE How the FRC works FRC Commissioner/Local Commissioners case plan Confirm welfare recipient and resident Referral notices Referral notices Issue and serve notice to attend Issue and serve notice to attend Monitor Show cause Gather more information (eg What CS are doing? Gather more information (eg What CS are doing? Impact on Notifying Agencies, Service providers and other organisations that have contact with our clients 6 & 9 Month CIM Review Case Plan Review
Intake Phase Agency Notifications: The Act places an obligation on relevant agencies to submit approved agency notifications to the FRC about: School attendance - 3 full or part days within a school term Child Safety Notifications - Child Safety Concern Reports and Finalised Child Safety Investigations Tenancy Breaches Convictions in the Magistrates Court
Agency Notifications received To 31 December 2010 the FRC received a total of 9067 agency notifications:
Assessment Phase Information Officers determine jurisdiction - who are welfare recipients (or CDEP participants) and reside in the relevant community Local Commissioners determine which matters are brought to conference at fortnightly meetings
Pre-Conference Phase Conference timetable set Local Coordinators prepare and serve the client with ‘Notice to Attend Conference’ and other conference notices Additional information is sought e.g. Domestic Violence Orders, Probation Orders, Child Safety Case Plans, if appropriate Files prepared in Cairns Registry by administration staff
Conference Rules Content of conference is privileged and cannot be used in a court as evidence and rules of evidence do not apply If English is not the clients first language arrangements must be made to ensure the client can understand and actively participate in the conference Conferences are not audio-recorded No legal representation – unless considered appropriate in the interests of justice Client may have support persons attend with them
Conference Rules cont’d Others may be invited or directed to attend at discretion of Commissioner’s if deemed they could assist with reaching an outcome If individual fails to appear the first conference, the conference is rescheduled to another time Decisions to be unanimous if possible – otherwise by majority (dissenting position must be recorded)
Conference Phase Conferences are very informal (e.g. all attendees sitting around a table), chaired by a Local Commissioner Matters raised in the agency notifications are discussed as well as any other matters affecting the individual and their family In Aurukun conferences conducted in Wik-Mungkan Conferences are conducted to assist clients in identifying ways to make changes to their lives Most conferences result in clients entering into an agreement to attend support services such as Wellbeing Centre’s, FIM, ACM or other services available
Conference Outcomes To take no further action in relation to the notice Reprimand the person Recommend that the person attend an appropriate community support service Enter into a Family Responsibilities Agreement Direct the person to attend an appropriate community support service under a case plan for not more than 1 year Give the Centrelink secretary a notice requiring that the person be subject to income management for at least 3 months but not more than 1 year at a rate of 60% or 75%
Conference Outcomes cont’d Personal responsibility actions: Speak to men’s/women’s group, justice group Reduce drinking Ensure kids at home at night Referral to community support services: Wellbeing Centre (primary referral) School Attendance Case Managers Family Income Management Parenting Programs Conditional Income Management – through Centrelink
Conference Outcomes cont’d 2829 Conferences were held for the period 1 July 2008 to 31 December 2010 Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 Qtr 5 Qtr 6 Qtr 7 Qtr 8 Qtr 9 Qtr 10Total Aurukun37721541871722321632881923991896 Coen13101121252934191824204 Hope Vale288910510414110211097981261000 Mossman Gorge19302249284426322860338 972012923613664073334363366093438
Client Service Referrals All Communities Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 Qtr 5 Qtr 6 Qtr 7 Qtr 8 Qtr 9 Qtr 10 Total FIM15386127494122211029313 WBC275113266878093252131613 ACM76245522 10515157 Parenting Program8341272451854 EVFP01101035233139131 AFP55 Other173023191458582131 7412924516817515517083761291404 Footnote: From Quarter 1 to Quarter 8 the EVFP figures were reported in the ‘Other’ category for the Quarterly and Annual Reports. AFP Referrals commenced in Quarter 10.
Case Management Phase The FRC has an obligation under the act to monitor the progress of clients under a case plan If the client did not attend the conference and a decision was made in their absence the Local Coordinator serves a copy of the Decision and/or Case Plan on the client After the conference is held the Local Coordinator provides the community support services with a copy of the Agreement/Decision and Case Plan To enable the monitoring to occur, service providers are required to submit a monthly progress report (during the life of the case plan) to the FRC which provides such information as: Has client attended service? Is the client actively participating in the program? Is the client making progress in positively changing their behaviour? If a client does not comply, show cause proceedings may be commenced.
Case Management cont’d CIM Review: Conditional Income Management orders are reviewed at the 6 and 10 month mark to ascertain how the client is progressing. Clients are able to apply for their CIM order to be varied or revoked if they can provide evidence of attendance at community support services. Show Cause Proceedings: Where a client has not complied with their case plan show cause proceedings can be instigated If deemed appropriate by the Commissioners, the client is served with a Show Cause Hearing notice that gives them 14 days notice. When served with the notice the client is advised that if they commence complying with the case plan the Commissioners will take this into account at the hearing. At the Show Cause Hearing the Commissioners may order that the client be subject to Conditional Income Management, reinforce the case plan or revoke the case plan and order a new case plan with different or additional conditions.
Student Attendance Rate 200820092010 School/Community Term 1 % Term 2 % Term 3 % Term 4 % Term 1 % Term 2 % Term 3 % Term 4 % Term 1 % Term 2 % Term 3 % Term 4 % Aurukun46.137.944.543.556.163.266.061.665.957.754.164.8 Coen91.396.887.494.195.393.692.990.494.992.289.087.6 Hope Vale80.687.683.381.588.286.976.684.187.383.580.880.6 Mossman GorgeN/A60.975.878.780.181.678.079.584.279.182.377.7 School Attendance statistics for term 1, 2010 have been provided by the Department of Education and Training.
Information Sharing Protocols The Information Sharing Protocols set out the circumstances in which, and the means by which, information may be exchanged between the FRC and prescribed entities and other relevant agencies. The purpose of the information sharing provisions of the FRC Act is to remove potential barriers to the exchange of relevant information in order to effectively support the work of the FRC, while ensuring the confidentiality owed to individuals and prescribed entities is respected.
Statutory Obligations Written report to Family Responsibilities Board at the end of each quarter Quarterly Report 1 & 2 (combined), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 now published Quarterly Report 9 (yet to be tabled in the Queensland Parliament) Annual Report to the Minister for Local Government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Social Development Parliamentary Committee Public Service office, therefore all obligations as for any state government department must be met
Amendments to Act - 2010 Elimination of compulsory Case Plans Reduction for Show Cause period from 28 days to 14 days Three Local Commissioners may now sit (with some restrictions)
Challenges Implementation and On-going: Setting up Commissions offices in very short period of time Office and staff accommodation in each community Information Sharing between FRC and relevant agencies Meeting Statutory obligations in such a small organisation Intensity of Sittings Schedule Community Support Services not functioning effectively (or not at all) at the time of our commencement Acceptance by Communities was varied Consultation with community members
Future Direction On-going internal review of administrative processes Possible extension of the life of the Commission Training of Local Commissioners – JP (Qualified and Magistrates Court), mediation, advocacy, assertiveness, computer literacy Breaking down barriers to sharing of information between FRC and agencies Outcomes focus on services delivered to FRC clients
Reference Material Family Responsibilities Commission: www.frcq.org.au Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008: www.legislation.qld.gov.au Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership: Cape York Partnerships: www.capeyorkpartnerships.com Queensland Government: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Department of Communities: www.atsip.com.au Australian Government: Department of Families, Housing, Community Service and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) www.fahcsia.gov.au