Chelsea's future is looking bright

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					                 disability, housing and community services | ACT



Chelsea’s future is looking bright
At the tender age of just 18, Chelsea
Appo has the world at her feet.
The energetic and optimistic Wanniassa
teenager is one of 11 ACT Government
Indigenous Traineeship Program participants
who, on September 17, graduated from the
pilot program.
But only 12 months ago, Chelsea feared she was
destined for a life of uncertainty.
“I was working in retail, at a local liquor shop,
and not really sure where I was headed,” she
said.
“But the opportunity to be involved in the
Indigenous Traineeship Program has totally
changed my life.”
Through the program – administered by the
ACT Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Affairs – trainees complete Certificate
II in Information Technology and Office
Administration, and are placed in ACT Public
Service entry level positions.
Chelsea, who has always yearned to work with
children, was placed at Richardson Primary          ACT Government Indigenous Traineeship graduate Chelsea Appo (centre) with mentor Leeanne Pena (left) and Richardson Primary School principal Vivien Palmer.
School in September 2007 on a traineeship as
a special teacher assistant.                        “I was really nervous when I first started but the       and to have supported Chelsea through the                 “It’s been really wonderful watching Chelsea
                                                    principal Vivien helped ease me into the role,”          12 month traineeship program.                             grow as a person and as a professional,”
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of working at the
                                                    she said.                                                                                                          Leeanne, who is an educator by trade, said.
school and now know that this is what I want to                                                              “She has come so far in such a relatively
do with my life,” she said.                         Richardson Primary School principal Vivien               short amount of time and the Richardson                   “We have built a great rapport over time and
                                                    Palmer said Chelsea has become a positive                school community are all very proud of her                we’ve been able to work through any issues
Chelsea began her placement assisting teachers
                                                    role model for many of the children – her                achievements.”                                            as they’ve arisen.
with Kindergarten and Years 1, 2 and 3 students,
                                                    enthusiasm, vibrancy and happy demeanour
with recently having the opportunity to work                                                                 As part of the program, trainees are matched              “This program has truly opened many doors
                                                    infectious.
with Years 4, 5 and 6 students.                                                                              with experienced ACT Government staff who                 for Chelsea and the 10 other trainees.
                                                    “Many staff and some parents have given                  become their mentors.
She undertook tasks such as supporting children                                                                                                                        “They all now have opportunities to build
                                                    feedback about Chelsea’s positive development
with their learning programs, preparing work                                                                 Senior policy officer with the ACT Office of              long term careers in the public service.”
                                                    and progress, as she completes the traineeship
sheets, participating in playground support                                                                  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs,
                                                    at Richardson Primary School,” Vivien said.                                                                        With the graduation of the trainees this
programs, helping children to resolve conflict                                                               Leeanne Pena, mentored Chelsea throughout
                                                                                                                                                                       month, the program will now undergo an
or friendship problems and supporting staff in      “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege          the 12-month program with, sometimes, daily
                                                                                                                                                                       evaluation process.
classrooms and the front office.                    to have Chelsea working here at our school               phone calls or site visits.




 Bimberi to provide new beginning for youth justice
  Canberra has achieved a first for young people in the youth justice system                                 medical facilities and recreation space                   activities to assist their educational and
  with the opening earlier this month of Bimberi Youth Justice Centre,                                       opening onto a central meeting point.                     employment opportunities when they leave
  Australia’s first custodial facility to be designed, built and operated under                                                                                        Bimberi.
                                                                                                             “During their stay, Bimberi residents are
  human rights legislation.                                                                                  required to participate in education or job               “We recently had a very successful
                                                    The $42.5 million purpose-built centre —                 skills development, as well as recreational               recruitment campaign and we are currently
                                                    managed by the Department of Disability,                 and social activities,” Paul said.                        training these staff to work specifically with
                                                    Housing and Community Services — is created                                                                        youth at Bimberi,” Paul said.
                                                                                                             “They will also be supported to address
                                                    in the style of a secondary school campus, with          and take responsibility for their risk-taking             Bimberi is named after the ACT’s tallest peak
                                                    accommodation for up to 40 young people.                 behaviour in order to make more positive                  in Namadgi National Park and is a symbol
                                                    Director of the department’s Youth Services              choices in the future.”                                   of the challenges that face young residents
                                                    Paul Wyles said its design is based around the                                                                     during their rehabilitation, he said.
                                                                                                             To assist with the reintegration of residents
                                                    principle of a town square with classrooms,              into the community, daily life at Bimberi                 To find out more about Bimberi Youth Justice
                                                    accommodation, dining room and kitchen,                  will be as normal as possible, focusing on                Centre, log onto www.bimberi.act.gov.au



          www.dhcs.act.gov.au | Phone 13 34 27
 Tony’s determined to get scooting again soon
 Tony Tarzia loves his independence —                The service provides support and information,
 and his motorised scooter.                          as well as assistance with future planning, to
                                                     people with disabilities and their families.
 It’s been three years since he has been able
 to ride his scooter after illness forced him        “Our service helps people to connect with their
 into a wheelchair but the Palmerston man is         local community and develop strategies to
 determined to get back on board.                    support the inclusion of people with disabilities
                                                     in mainstream community activities,” Debbie
 “I’ve set a goal for myself and that’s to get out
                                                     said.
 of here on my scooter,” Tony said.
                                                     “As coordinators, we can act as advocates
 “I’m working hard towards that goal with
 regular physiotherapy and I’m hoping that           and can link people to formal and informal
 I may be able to be back on the scooter by          supports and services.”
 the end of this year.”                              More than 65 people are registered to receive
 Before his illness, Tony was a regular figure       assistance through the Local Area Coordination
 at Gungahlin, locals seeing him out and about       Service in Woden Valley and Gungahlin.
 at Gungahlin Lakes or picking up lunch.             For Tony, Debbie’s help in arranging
 “I used to be able to ride down to the              appointments, speaking on his behalf over
 Gungahlin Market Place to do my own                 the phone and her regular visits have been
 shopping in the various stores,” he said.           invaluable.

 “It’s been such a long time since I’ve been         “Deb is right behind me all the way,” Tony said.
 able to get on the scooter and I really miss        “If there’s a problem, she can talk to agencies
 the freedom and independence it gives me.”          on my behalf and she helps to keep me up to
                                                     date with everything I should be doing.
 Tony’s goal of once again riding his scooter
 is now within reach thanks to the help of           “To be honest, I couldn’t be without her. The
 Debbie Moger.                                       Local Area Coordination Service is a fantastic
                                                     program and has helped me in many ways.”
 Debbie works for the Local Area
 Coordination Service — a partnership                To find out more about the Local Area
 between Belconnen Community Service Inc             Coordination Service, phone the Gungahlin
 and Woden Community Service Inc — which             office on 6255 7911 or the Phillip office on        Tony Tarzia at home at Palmerston with Local Area Coordination team member Debbie Moger. Tony plans to ride
                                                                                                         his motorised scooter again soon.
 is funded by Disability ACT.                        6260 5622.



 Enhancing our city’s
    multicultural sector                                                                                   Right-sizing can help
 Programs to assist multicultural                    More than 300 leaders of Canberra’s                   you find the perfect home
 youth dealing with mental health                    multicultural community attended the
 issues, a comprehensive language                    one-day event in which delegates were                 Housing ACT tenants who feel they                        relocated to a smaller more suitable
 plan and a dedicated multicultural                  encouraged to share their views and ideas             are struggling to keep up with                           home in their selected area of preference.
 senior citizens centre were among                   on three key areas of need within the                 the demands of a home too large                          Their previous accommodation became
 suggestions put forward by                          sector — youth, aged care and languages.              for their current needs are being                        increasingly unsuitable and difficult to
 hundreds of delegates at the historic               Work has already begun on the draft                   encouraged to consider right-sizing.                     maintain.
 ACT Multicultural Summit in August.                 Multicultural Strategy 2009–2012 which is
                                                                                                           Housing and Community Services executive                 “With our assistance, the family’s
                                                     expected to be circulated for public comment                                                                   specific housing requirements were
 Ideas gleaned at the summit — organised by                                                                director Maureen Sheehan said tenants likely
                                                     early next year.                                                                                               identified and Housing ACT was able to
 the ACT Office of Multicultural Affairs —                                                                 to consider right-sizing include empty nesters
 will now form the basis of the ACT’s new                   The summit was also the venue for              or those experiencing a relationship change.             offer accommodation to suit the special
 draft Multicultural Strategy                          008   the launch of the Facing up to                                                                         needs of one of the family members,”
                                                     2 8
                                                 ard                                                       “Maybe their children have grown up and left
 2009–2012.                               o r t C 2004–20     Racism Report Card 2008 which                                                                         Maureen said.
                                                          0
                                      Rep                                                                  home or their personal circumstances have
                                 m iscrimination                gives a snapshot of the work ACT
                            cis d                                                                                                                                   “Also, Housing ACT will cover
                       Ra and unfair                             Government agencies have been             changed so they no longer require a large
                  to m                                                                                                                                              reasonable relocation costs for approved
             upessing racis                                        doing to help eliminate racism in       home,” Maureen said.
       n g dr                                                                                                                                                       transfers — this can include payment for
F aci ic plan ad
               g
                                                                    our city.                              “Tenants who opt to move to smaller                      removalists and reconnection of utilities
        rate
 a st                                                                                                      properties allow us to more quickly allocate
                                                                     Copies of the report card are                                                                  such as gas and electricity.”
                                                                      available from the ACT Office        larger properties to families in need.”
                                                                                                                                                                    Tenants interested in considering a
                                                                       of Multicultural Affairs on         Recently, a family of three who had been                 transfer to a smaller property can find
                                                                        6207 0555.
                                                                                                           living in public housing for 17 years were               out more by phoning 6207 1315.



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                                                              www.dhcs.act.gov.au | Phone 13 34 27
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How Positive Parenting helped change Tanya’s life
Tanya Smith loves spending time
with her children Ryan and Asha,
helping them to play and learn.
But only a few months ago the Tuggeranong
mother-of-two was struggling to find fresh
ways of teaching the children right from
wrong.
“It seemed like the children were constantly
fighting and any attempts to discipline them
were failing,” Tanya said.
“I was finding parenting frustrating and
together with my husband wanted some fresh
ideas on managing behaviour.”
It was then that the Smiths heard about
Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre’s Triple
P Positive Parenting Program.
Developed by the University of Queensland,
the program involves information sharing,
discussion, DVDs which show examples
of families using the strategies suggested,
booklets and problem solving techniques.
The program is based on creating positive
environments for children, being assertive         Positive Parenting made a difference for Tanya, Ryan and Asha Smith.
and consistent in managing children’s
behaviour, having realistic expectations and       “One of the most important things I learned          Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre               or Department of Disability, Housing and
meeting both the child and parents’ needs.         was that by taking care of myself and my own         manager Yvonne Poels said Canberra                Community Services Schools as Communities
                                                   needs first, I was better able to deal with the      parents will soon have greater access to          workers,” Yvonne said.
“I had heard some really positive things from      daily challenges of parenting.                       Triple P group programs with 19 additional
parents who had completed Triple P and was                                                              professionals currently being trained to          “Triple P will continue to be offered at the
                                                   “With this in mind my husband and I decided                                                            Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre and
keen to give it a go,” Tanya said.                                                                      deliver the program across various sites in
                                                   to start up a book club with other parents                                                             will also commence at Gungahlin Child and
“I found that much of Triple P is common-                                                               the ACT.
                                                   including some from our Triple P group.
                                                                                                                                                          Family Centre.”
sense, such as not giving too many                 Overall I found Triple P to be a great program       “These professionals are largely based within
instructions at once, but just things we tend to   with a common-sense approach that makes              pre and primary schools as Department of          To find out more, phone Tuggeranong on
overlook in our busy lives.                        parenting that bit easier.”                          Education and Training school counsellors         6207 8228 or Gungahlin on 6207 1020.




 Elected Body working hard                                                                              Home is where the art is
 for Indigenous community                                                                               What does ‘home’ mean to you?
                                                                                                        Public and community housing tenants are
                                                                                                                                                          Entry to the competition closes on September
                                                                                                                                                          29. All artworks will be on display at the Theo
 Since their election in June,                     and Fred Monaghan — recently met for a
                                                                                                        being asked to pick up their paint brushes        Notaras Multicultural Centre during Tenancy
 the seven members of the ACT’s                    planning day in which they gained a better                                                             Week — October 6 to 12 — with Tenancy
                                                                                                        and put their pencils to work to show exactly
 inaugural Indigenous Elected                      understanding of ACT Government programs,            what it means to them for the annual 2008         Week Art Show prizes awarded during
 Body (IEB) have been working                      policies and services.                               Tenancy Week Art Show.                            judging on October 10, from 6pm to 7pm..
 hard to help improve the lives of                 The IEB was established to give indigenous           Jointly organised by Tenants’ Union ACT,          To obtain an entry form, contact Tenants’
 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait                members of the Canberra community a                  Joint Champions’ Group and Housing ACT,           Union ACT on 6247 1026.
 Islander people.                                  strong and democratically elected voice.             competition winners will receive $500 for first   2007 Tenancy Week Art Show winning entry by Michele
                                                                                                        place, $300 for second and $200 for third.        Hawkins called ‘Home among the shells’
 Members of the IEB – Paul House,                  To find out more about the IEB, log onto the
 Lynette Goodwin, Dianne Collins, Rod              website at www.electedbody.com.au
 Little, Roslyn Brown, Terry Williams




      www.dhcs.act.gov.au | Phone 13 34 27
Help for mums                                                                                            Write On is right
who want to return to work                                                                               on in helping children learn
Women on a low income who have                                                                           Handwriting is one of the most                        for kids and don’t involve a pen and paper,
been out of the workforce for an                                                                         complex activities that children will                 Ruth said.
extended period while raising                                                                            learn, and one that many people                       These are actually designed to develop
                                                                                                         take for granted.                                     sensory, gross and fine motor skills and other
children are being encouraged to
apply for assistance under the ACT                                                                       Each year, occupational therapists at Therapy         elements that are essential for handwriting.
Women’s Return to Work Grants                                                                            ACT work with many children who are
                                                                                                                                                               Tom Bevitt — an occupational therapist who
                                                   The program is funded through the ACT                 struggling with their handwriting.
Program.                                                                                                                                                       has helped to present the program — said it
                                                   Office for Women and administered by the              “Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen            has received a very positive response from
Mothers who meet the eligibility criteria can      Women’s Information and Referral Centre. To           a big increase in the number of children              the teachers who have been through the
receive grants of up to $1000 to assist with the   find out more, log onto www.wirc.act.gov.au           coming to us for help with their handwriting,”        teacher training.
cost of training and other associated expenses.    or phone 6205 2885.                                   Therapy ACT senior occupational therapist
                                                                                                                                                               “Write On is unique because it combines the
                                                                                                         Ruth Van Ierschot said.
                                                                                                                                                               knowledge and experience of both therapists
                                                                                                         “Their difficulties are usually because they          and educators — in an everyday learning
                                                                                                         haven’t developed the hand skills that are            situation,” Tom said.
                                                                                                         vital components of not only handwriting,
  Calling all tenants with                                                                               but countless other activities.”
                                                                                                         Ruth and her team were convinced they could
                                                                                                                                                               “This collaborative work results in a great
                                                                                                                                                               outcome for teachers, therapists, parents —

  fancy flora and
                                                                                                                                                               and of course — the children themselves.
                                                                                                         create a simple and engaging way for children
                                                                                                         to learn critical hand skills in a school setting     “Teaching these skills early on within the

  handsome hedges                                                                                        at the early stage of development.
                                                                                                         And so Write On was born.
                                                                                                                                                               classroom also helps to identify those
                                                                                                                                                               children who do need some extra assistance
                                                                                                                                                               with their hand skills — and that’s really
   Is your garden looking gorgeous?                “The overall winner will receive a gift               Write On is a unique program designed                 where Therapy ACT may become involved.”
                                                   voucher to the value of $200 with other               by occupational therapists for teachers to
   Housing ACT tenants are                                                                               teach children handwriting. It has already            There are plans for Write On to be part
                                                   winning and placed entrants receiving
   being encouraged to get their                                                                         been successfully piloted in several primary          of the curriculum at the four new Early
                                                   vouchers of $100 for first prize, $70 for
   green thumbs busy for the                                                                             schools in the ACT.                                   Childhood schools due to open in 2009.
                                                   second and $50 for third,” Michelle said.
   2008 Housing ACT Gardening                                                                            One of the surprising aspects of the program          For more information about the program,
   Competition.                                    “Entries will close on October 3, with the            is that it includes lots of activities that are fun   contact Therapy ACT on 6205 1246.
                                                   winners presented with their awards at a
   With judging set to take place in early
                                                   ceremony in December.”
   October, tenants with fancy flora and
   handsome hedges can still enter their           To obtain an entry form, phone Michelle
   glorious gardens in the competition,            on 6207 1376.
   Housing ACT’s Michelle Anderson said.




Successful session in
               preparing for a major emergency
Dozens of Canberra’s refugees,                     role in working with emergency services and         interest from her clients in terms of preparing         and the community as a whole can prepare
migrants and humanitarian                          supporting the efforts of the community itself to   for any potential emergencies.                          themselves.
entrants are now better prepared                   recover after a disaster,” Mr Robertson said.
                                                                                                       “Valuable one-on-one discussions were                   “For some in particular, the very well organised
for a major emergency in our city.                 “We talked about how we coordinate                  held between presenters and participants                system of response and level of support
A collaborative session on emergencies was         community initiatives aimed at minimising the       who viewed a range of equipment used by                 displayed by ACT emergency services may
held at the Migrant Resource Centre last           overall impact of disasters and how we work         emergency services agencies and a variety               have been somewhat alien.
month in which police, fire, ambulance,            with community service organisations such as        of informative material was handed out,”
                                                                                                                                                               “But staff from emergency services agencies
State Emergency Service and Rural Fire             the Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul and Lifeline      Ms Bakkum said.
                                                                                                                                                               assured all those at the session that the role and
Service officers joined staff from ACT             in providing this support.”
                                                                                                       “The participants showed interest and                   behaviour of police and emergency services staff
Community Recovery — a division of                 Migrant Resource Centre manager Dewani              enthusiasm and many had questions to ask.               in Canberra is very different to what they may
DHCS — to share information and advice on          Bakkum said it was pleasing to see such strong      The session showed them how individuals                 have experienced in their country of origin.”
how to prepare and respond to a disaster
situation.
Acting manager of ACT Community Recovery            The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services provides a broad range of
Mark Robertson said the session involved             human services to the people of the ACT. The Department has eight operating divisions:
members of the Sudanese, Chinese, Japanese                        The Office of Children, Youth and Family Support               Therapy ACT
and Samoan communities.
                                                          Disability ACT        The ACT Office for the Ageing            The ACT Office for Women
“During the session we were able to explain                   The Office of Multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
to them ACT Community Recovery’s key
                                                                Housing and Community Services ACT                 Child and Family Centres.



           www.dhcs.act.gov.au | Phone 13 34 27

				
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