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News from the Association and Industry, useful tips for carers and upcoming events and training to mark in your diary.
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Newsletter November 2015
EMPOWERING CARERS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE, SUPPORT & ADVOCACY
The year in review!

October has turned out to be a fantastic month for our association!  I have been pulling our data together for the various reports that are due and have been very impressed with the work that we have undertaken over the last twelve months and I am in awe of the things we have been able to achieve.  I congratulate my team for the cohesive way you work together and the focus you have for our carers.

The AGM was held last weekend. Our annual report and our audited financials are now available on our website.

We held a Board of Management election this AGM and welcome Kay Eade, Alice Springs; Kathryn Howitt, Alice Springs; Robyn Koop, Alice Springs; Darrin Whatley, Tennant Creek; Jake Quinlivan, Wadeye; Sue Price, Palmerston; Louisa Castle, Acacia Hills; Lesley Taylor, Humpty Doo; Necia Sutton, Darwin River; and Jennie Vallely, Howard Springs to the board.  It’s lovely to be able to welcome some new board members this year and we look forward to working together to progress the association and make a difference for foster and kinship carers.

The following executive was elected: Chair, Sue Price; Vice Chair, Jennie Vallely; Treasurer, Kay Eade; and Secretary,  Lesley Taylor.

The succession plan for the Board members commenced this year with five (5) board members serving only one (1) year term and stepping down in October 2016.   Succession planning was initiated to ensure that the knowledge and history of long standing board members was able to be maintained and at the same time, we encourage new people to step into a role on the board.  
Connect with us!
What's on..
UPDATE YOUR DETAILS
T: 08 8945 3364 or
E: info@fostercarersnt.org.au
OFFICE HOURS
 Mon - Fri 8.00am-4.00pm
There will be five (5) vacant positions on the board at the next AGM in 2016 so consider if a board role is something you may be interested in.  Distance is no longer a barrier as we currently meet four (4) times a year and communicate regularly via email and telephone.  If members have any questions please contact me to discuss further.
 
Best wishes to you all.

Kind Regards, Ann Owen
         DCF AFTER HOURS &
CHILD PROTECTION HOTLINE                            
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY  
          1800 700 250                                      000               
NEWS & INFORMATION
International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) 2015 World Conference, Sydney

On Saturday 7 November, we are travelling to Sydney for the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) 2015 World Conference “Tell Someone Who Cares: Caring for Our Children”.  We are very excited to learn and deepen our knowledge about foster and kinship care in a National and International context.

The opening keynote speaker will be Kevin Brown who will share his story of how his social workers and foster care parents supported him through 17 years of foster care, become a debt-free college graduate, MTV host, New York Fashion Industry Marketer and CEO of his own empowerment company Legacy Thinking Labs. Audience members will expand their consciousness of how their legacy lives on in their youth’s life stories.
2015 INTERNATIONAL FOSTER CARE ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE SYDNEY AUSTRALIA


Hear from Kevin!
 
Amongst the keynote speakers will be: Deborra-Lee Furness, Maggie Hamilton, Nathan Mikaere-Wallis, Estella Abraham, Claire Robbs, Gregory Nicolau, Nina Funnell, Alastair MacGibbon, Sarah Milan, Stephen Bloom and Tracey Shipton.

Congratulations to the four carers, representing regions across the Northern Territory, who will be attending the conference in Sydney as part of our sponsorship program.

We are looking forward to sharing our learning, resources and experiences with you on our return. 
Advocates visit Tennant Creek
On 14-15 October, Roz Havard (Southern Region Advocate) and Lucja Wajs (Lead Advocate) travelled to Tennant Creek. During the trip the advocates were able to catch up with several carers for a chat about issues carers are experiencing in the Barkly region. As it was a short trip, time did not allow them to see everyone.  Remember, Roz can be contacted on E: rosalyn.havard@fostercarersnt.org.au or T: 8952 9202 for support or assistance.
Roz is currently working on an exciting project in Tennant Creek in collaboration with other agencies. This is still in the formation stage so watch this space!
 
DCF - IMPORTANT Update! 
Respite Requests - DCF are encouraging carers to submit requests for Christmas holiday respite as a priority by Friday, 6 November 2015.

Casuarina Carer Support & Assessment Team Office Relocation - Please be advised that the Out of Home Care Division of the Department of Children and Families has relocated to 41 Smith Street, 2nd Floor Darwin Plaza, Darwin and services will no longer be available at Cascom 4 Level 2, 13–17 Scaturchio Street, Casaurina. The postal address and all telephone contact details for the Division will remain the same.
Facebook Privacy & Photo Sharing - What's All the Fuss!

Facebook is a fantastic way to keep in touch with news and events, and a great place to share photos of family and friends. It can, however, be a grey area for carers in relation to posting photos of the children and young people in their care.

Here are some key areas to consider when engaging on facebook:
  1. Be mindful of the photos you post and the comments that you write.  There are strict references to publication or disclosure of identifying information about children or young people in care in the Care and Protection of Children Act .  If in doubt talk to your caseworker to seek clarification when posting photos. 
  2. Are your Privacy Settings adequate? It is important to review your privacy and security settings regularly. Facebook regularly issues updates which can result in your settings changing after an update has been installed. It is possible to change the settings on your profile, friends list and photos and make them accessible to only you, nominated friends, friends, or friends of friends rather than everyone. Note: Take care when selecting your profile photos as these will generally be visible regardless of your privacy settings.
  3. Increase your knowledge! There are a range of great tutorials available through facebook, YouTube and various cybersmart websites. You will find a a few of them listed below to get you started. 

Facebook - Privacy Basics
www.facebook.com/about/basics/

Facebook - Photo Privacy
www.facebook.com/help/

Think U Know - Resources
www.thinkuknow.org.au/site/resources
Self Care for Foster Carers
By Rosalyn Havard, Southern Region Advocate

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
It is important to know how to take care of yourself and recognise the signs that you need to recharge.
Your role as a foster carer can be demanding and challenging, as well as rewarding and it is necessary to identify some strategies that will assist with the stress that is unavoidable in the caring role.

One of the first steps is acknowledging the need for self care and identifying ways of caring for yourself. You can start this process by identifying your particular stressors. Identifying self care is an individual matter, what is good for your friend might not be what suits your needs.

What are some of the signs of stress? Signs of stress are usually experienced as physical, mental, emotional or behavioral changes from what is normal for us.

Some of these signs may include:
•    Moodiness, erratic or increased emotions
•    Increased irritability or frustration
•    Lack of motivation inability to sleep or sleeping too much
•    Headaches
•    Lack of concentration
•    Feeling anxious or overwhelmed
•    Not coping with responsibilities 
•    Reliance on drugs or alcohol
•    Change in eating habits or nervous habits

HOW TO MAKE A START 
To start your self care I encourage you to choose things that you can do on a daily basis and become part of your routine, even for 20 minutes. Choose things that do not require a lot of money, babysitters or special equipment. The key is to get into the habit of self care time out. Undertake your chosen activity with mindfulness as an acknowledgement that this is not wasting time but necessary for your well being and part of your self nurturing.

WHY IS SELF CARE SO HARD?
We don’t always readily identify what we need and want. Sometimes we might feel pressured to try something that does suit us and we give up because it did not suit our needs. Don’t be put off trying something new but make sure that it is because you want to do it. Find out what leaves you feeling recharged, it might take some experimenting. Schedule in your time. Your self care time is always at risk of being rescheduled. Life has a way of getting in the way, children have the flu, school meetings, medical visits, etc. Try to keep your self care  simple and achievable.

Some ideas for self care and relaxation
•    Make time for yourself and your close relationships
•    Plan activities and put them in your diary
•    Identify things that interest you, like sports or hobbies and time with friends
•    Take time to exercise regularly, walking, walking the dog, swimming or yoga 
•    Go for a bike ride
•    Go to a movie or watch a DVD of a latest release
•    Read a good book or visit the local library
•    Enjoy a massage or facial
•    Have a pedicure
•    Take a long hot bath – add in some relaxing bath oil
•    Take some time to spend with your pets
•    Have lunch or coffee with a friend 
•    Have a good laugh-try to maintain your sense of humor
•    Embrace nature - sit in your favorite spot in the garden and clear your mind.
•    Take up a new hobby
•    Take a nap - it’s OK!
•    Listen to music
•    Meditate for 20 minutes

RESPITE CARE
Respite care is another name for a break. Respite care is a good time to refocus and for some carers to spend some quality time with their partner. It is important to discuss planning your respite breaks with your carer support person or case manager.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Foster carers and their families may from time to time feel that they could benefit from some extra support from a professional counsellor. Part of the support to foster carers by the Department of Children and Families is access to EASA counselling services.

This is a free and confidential service. Foster carers can refer themselves by contacting EASA:

•    Alice Springs (08) 89534225 email: easaalicesprings@easa.org.au
•    Darwin (08) 89411752 email : easadarwin@easa.org.au
•    Katherine (08) 89411752 email: easakatherine@easa.org.au
•    Or phone the TOLL FREE number 1800 193 123

EASA is completely independent of Department of Children and Families and no information will be disclosed without your permission. You may feel that you just need someone to listen rather than give advice.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE PLANS
Do you know that you can visit your General Practitioner (GP/doctor) for a GP Mental Health Care Plan?  

A GP Mental Health Care Plan is a plan made by your GP for treating a mental health problem over time. It can save you money if you are referred to other mental health professionals who can claim for the service through Medicare if you have a GP Mental Health Care Plan. Without a plan you may have to pay for the full cost of the service. Treatment is for your individual situation. It might include seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, another doctor or health professional. When you ring to book an appointment ask for a double appointment to allow enough time to discuss your concerns with your doctor and talk about making a plan.

You might also like to visit the sites listed below online for more information and fact sheets. Some sites have a quick mental health quiz that you can complete and health advice.
 
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING THE BALANCE IN CARING
1.    You also need to be listened to, understood and not judged when talking about the difficult aspects of care giving.
2.    Ask for help and advice if you need it - think of this as managing your caring needs.
3.    Find time to manage the isolation that is often an aspect for many carers - use respite to catch up with family and friends.
4.    Contact old friends or colleagues if you have lost touch with them - informal networks are invaluable.
5.    Keep a sense of self, a separate identity to your role as a carer.

Thanks to everyone who entered our Adult Colouring Book Competition on Facebook. Congratulations to our winners; Emma Rossi - Alice Springs, Gayleen Aitken - Katherine & Byuankah Hanson - Darwin.
Pride of Australia Medal for Alice Springs Carer
We are so proud of our wonderful Alice Springs carer Marieanna Hammond who was awarded a prestigious Care and Compassion medal at the Pride of Australia Medal 2015 ceremony in Darwin in October.

The care and compassion medal recognises a professional or volunteer carer or group, or a member of the health profession who has made a significant improvement to the lives around them.

Congratulations Marieanna, very well deserved!


 
TRAINING, DEVELOPMENT & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
St John Ambulance - First Aid Information Session, Alice Springs

St John Ambulance Community Educator, Regina Sellars, will be the guest facilitator at our November morning tea in Alice Springs. Regina will cover the treatment and first aid actions required for many situations that foster carers may come across in their caring role such as: 

• Fever • Burns and scalds • Boils • Heat Stroke • Diahorrea • Convulsions • Bites and scratches from pets • CPR knowledge

Regina’s information is not a substitute for the St John Ambulance First Aid Certificate Course but a fantastic entry into first aid awareness and why you should have this knowledge. Foster Carers Association NT hope to provide limited places for carers who are interested to attend the certificate course in February 2016.   

When:        Wednesday 4 November 2015 @ 10.00-11.00am
Where:       Foster Carers Association Office, 10/82 Todd Street, Alice Springs
Contact:     For more information or to let us know you are coming contact Roz on T:8952 9202 or E:rosalyn.havard@fostercarersnt.org.au


 
ATTENTION SOUTHERN REGION CARERS

Please be advised that the Department of Children and Families is providing Foster Care Training on the following dates;
 
Thursday, 19 November - 8:30am until 15.00pm Modules 1, 2 & 3
Friday, 20 November - 8:30am until 15:00pm Modules 4, 5 & 6

The training will be provided by Ms Kay Devine from the Training Co-ordinator for the Service Development and Policy Division. 

The training is catered, however, child care is unable to be provided. 

RSVP is to the generic email OOHCSouth.DCF@nt.gov.au or to Marjorie Leatua on 08 8955 6001
DCF Foster & Kinship Carers - Morning Teas
A great opportunity for carers to discuss issues and raise concerns with DCF staff. For information about times and locations please call the Carer Assessment and Support team on 8922 7077.

     Katherine - 10 November      Darwin - 13 November      Alice Springs - 20 November

 
USEFUL LINKS - INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES
There is increasing recognition that the early years of a child's life are crucially important. Research has shown that positive, early childhood experiences set the stage for later development, learning and wellbeing.

The website below links to a range of information on early childhood education options (formal and informal), promoting health and wellbeing for your child, and programmes that provide support for families and carers.

Click here or go to www.mychild.gov.au/families-carers
WHAT'S ON IN NOVEMBER
Children's Week 2015 activities
Treasure Hunt­walk or ride
Charlie King and Hector the Safety Cat starts the Treasure Hunt­walk or ride­ prizes to be found
Water slide, Fun in the Park, balloon twisting, smoothie bike and morning tea
When: Sunday 1st November 2015 @ 9:00am­11:00am
Where: East Point Reserve ­ Beach Side (opposite Lake Alexander playground)
Contact: For more information: 89300561 or t.sellars@darwin.nt.gov.au

 
City of Darwin Children's Art Exhibition

WOW DAY
Wear orange Wednesday 18 November. Alice Springs Town Council lawns. 12pm sausage sizzle lunch – 1pm tug of war. SES nationally recognised Wear Orange Wednesday 2015 will be one to remember!. Join the celebration with our sausage sizzle lunch and watch our Tug of War competition between NTES, Police, NTFRS, Bushfires NT and St Johns, followed by presentations and celebrations for NTES’ 40th Birthday. Prize for the business best decorated and dressed in orange. For more information go to: www.emergency.nt.gov.au

Copyright © 2015 Foster Carers Association NT, All rights reserved. 

Our mailing address is: PO Box 42716, Casuarina NT 0811

Darwin Office: 25 Damabila Drive, Lyons NT 0810. Ph: 8945 3364
Alice Springs Office: 10/82 Todd Street, Alice Springs NT 0870. Ph:8952 9202

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