Archive: How the false claims of the child abuse industry have harmed america

Those who profit from the Child Abuse Industry must convince both us and their victims that everything is abuse. News media, therapists, prosecutors, judges, lawyers and sex police. Thousands of jobs depend on maximizing claims of abuse.

The Heritage Foundation estimates that welfare costs US taxpayers $360 billion per year, and it is now clear that this underwrites a large portion of the high US divorce rate -- the highest in the world -- and one of the highest illegitimacy rates. The Coalition of Parents estimates that the child abuse industry costs US taxpayers $285 billion per year. This is a case in which the medicine did more damage than the disease -- more children were damaged by their resulting fatherlessness than were protected by these efforts. "Child support" may be only $14 billion per year, but the psychological effects on family dynamics contribute more to family breakup than just the dollar incentives would imply.

Thus about 41% of the $1.6 Trillion national budget is wasted on programs which do little other than to undermine family unity, with terrible consequences. As the following ROFF (Rate of Fatherlessness Factor) suggests, for each $12.5 billion increase in the last 3 decades in the annual expenditure for welfare, the rate of fatherlessness rose 1%, and for each 1% increase in the rate of fatherlessness SAT scores declined 3 points, and the prison population increased by 41,296 inmates.

It seems that the cure is worse than the disease.

What you don't know about foster care

According to a 2011 AFCARS (the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) “Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.3 million children and approximately 3 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.”

According to this report, in 2012, CPS took an estimated 650,000 to one million children from their homes, playground hospitals and parents. The same report suggests that only 6 percent or less (39,000 out of the 650,000 to million) were in any real danger or “high-risk” environments.

The more children in foster care, the more money a local CPS agency receives from the federal government, with the funds distributed throughout the community. Funding recipients include: teachers, attorneys, doctors, judges, therapists, caseworkers, foster parents, coaches, sub-agencies such as Family First and Head Start, insurance companies, consultants, outside contractors, and watchdog agencies, to name but a few. There is a profound conflict of interest between those in an authoritative position to protect children (CPS caseworkers and the earlier named affiliates) and the fact that those same people (and their associates) can financially benefit from the act of placing children in foster care.

Ninety-six percent of foster parents are on disability, unemployment, or workers’ comp, or have low-income jobs, resulting in children getting placed with unqualified, and often times, abusive recipients. Many foster parents are emotionally unstable or mentally incompetent, and a large majority have criminal records. Ninety-three percent of foster parents use the system for perverted and/or financial gain, using children as currency, to pay rent, place food on the table, pay the cable bill, etc. These financial incentives have led to unintended consequences, attracting pedophiles, predators, drug addicts, and sadists.

The National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported that, in 2012, 1,545 U.S. children died from child abuse. For many years, the Children’s Bureau (a department within DHS/CPS) reported 1,000 deaths a year within the CPS system. The Children’s Bureau also rounds off to the nearest thousand – so if the real tally of children dying in state custody is 1,499, only 1,000 will be reported.

Shockingly, this leaves only 46 children, nationwide, killed outside of Child Protective Services, a government program designed to protect children.

A critical look at the foster care system: How safe is the service

 A recent TIME Magazine article references a troubling report commissioned by the Reagan Administration during the late 1980s, which concluded:

Foster care is intended to protect children from neglect and abuse at the hands of parents and other family members, yet all too often it becomes an equally cruel form of neglect and abuse by the state.[1]

In the State of California, two San Diego County Grand juries would echo these concerns, finding that: "Professionals working in the field of child abuse voiced strong concerns that the children removed from abusive homes were being abused again by a system designed to protect them."[2]

Study: Troubled homes better than foster care

Children whose families are investigated for abuse or neglect are likely to do better in life if they stay with their families than if they go into foster care, according to a pioneering study.  The findings intensify a vigorous debate in child welfare: whether children are better served with their families or away from them.

Kids who stayed with their families were less likely to become juvenile delinquents or teen mothers and more likely to hold jobs as young adults, says the study by Joseph Doyle, an economics professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management who studies social policy.

FAMILY INFLUENCE:  Children who stay in troubled families fare better than those put into foster care. Those who:

 Were arrested at least once:
• Stayed with family: 14%
• Went to foster care: 44%

Became teen mothers:
• Stayed with family: 33%
• Went to foster care: 56%

Held a job at least 3 months:
• Stayed with family: 33%
• Went to foster care: 20%

Carers 'exploiting' baby bonus

UNSCRUPULOUS foster carers are exploiting the baby bonus scheme by taking in babies for long enough to receive the $4000 payment before sending them back to permanent care, according to extraordinary new allegations.

A whistleblower has told The Sunday Telegraph some NSW carers have a "very high turnover'' of babies and are claiming the Government bonus several times a year, as well as other allowances.

The source, who previously worked for the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS), claimed the money was not being spent on the babies as intended.

Foster kids are feral little f**ks

Alecomm had a visitor to its property this afternoon, in a brand spanking (all-but) new Toyota Landcruiser.  Bloody Beautiful it was too.  Number Plates on the front of the vehicle bent completely over so you could not read them at all and 3 or 4 very young kids in the back.  The number plates for this vehicle was AH29BQ.

Upon noticing that i seen the kids in the back, he said "oh, yeh, the kids" ... to which i replied "are they yours?"  -- a common question to ask these days considering how many stolen children are floating around the country for anybody to make a good living off (i mean seriously, just take a look at the vehicle this guy was driving). 

Bringing forth a consolidated front

In this fight to keep children from being kidnapped by CPS we often hear that we need a united front. We believe this to be the best line of strategy also. This does not mean united with everybody who pretends to be on our side, but it does mean we should be United with everyone that is aiming for the same goal that parents are.

Stopping the children from being ripped from their homes starts with making this a united front of a fight for parents rights to have families. This means all who are in this fight should be fighting for parents that are present and ready for their children to be home with them or to stay home with them.

This fight for parents rights to have families include the rights for the parents to have grandparents around for their children.

Former foster parent blasts CPS and foster care systems' abuses of power

I became a foster parent with the intentions of putting a roof over the heads of orphaned children. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

By the time I completed the training process, I understood that the majority of the children that would be entering my home were not orphans. I was brainwashed into believing the children had come from abusive and neglectful homes. I was told the state had rescued them from horrible living environments and that I was somewhat of a hero for taking them in.

They were all lies. It took several years for me to truly see what I had become a part of.

Child Protective Services was stealing children from loving biological families.

The reasons they took children into their custody varied. A few had actually been abused or neglected in their biological homes, but the majority had not been.

"Ex-Foster Carer Tells "The Dirty Tricks that DoCS and Child Protection Authorities will play on you to kidnap your children - and things you can do to try to Avoid these Horrors"."

barnardossnatchingirelandAnything you say they will twist, so always answer their questions with a question or smile and say "why do you want to know that?" This is the most important technique you need to learn. It's called Verbalising. And they will do it to you.

Always have your own psych report, their are some counsellors out there who are not a fan of Doc's. If you use theirs or a Court one they then have the opportunity to diagnose Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a permanent mental health issue and is grounds to take your kids into perm. care. Depression is temporary so is not grounds to take them. Be very wary of one called Toni Single.

If they tell you when your court date is they will purposely tell you the wrong date, a day later in the week so that you don't turn up on the correct day and the Magistrate immediately rules against you . You didn't attend Court so you lose.

Don't have any dogs scarier than a chihuahua in your yard when they come or they will report to Court about you having fighting dogs (child safety issue).

Do not have pools either, because a 50cm blow up pool will be reported as a six-foot deep pool with no fencing.

"Foster Carers"

Page: 8097

Mr JOHN ROBERTSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Women. Can the Minister explain to Margaret and Jim Pope, who are kinship carers in the gallery today, why the Government has decided to make life harder for them by cutting the allowance they receive for caring for their 17-year-old granddaughter by $212 a fortnight?

Ms PRU GOWARD: I thank the member for his question. I welcome the presence of carer groups in the Parliament today. I emphasise that my door is always open to them and I would be very pleased to meet them. I acknowledge the important role that all relatives—including kinship carers and grandparents—play in caring for children who cannot live safely at home. I remind the House that the former Labor Government for many years before 2006 reduced allowances to take into account the youth allowance for young people in out-of-home care.

Ms Linda Burney: That is not true.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order.

Ms PRU GOWARD: It is true and I will repeat what I said. It was the former Labor Government that for many years before 2006 reduced allowances.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Wollongong to order.

Ms PRU GOWARD: Nevertheless, as I said when the budget was delivered last year, that was a very difficult decision for me.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Shellharbour to order.

Ms PRU GOWARD: I have often spoken about the need to do better by adolescent young people in out-of-home care. We need to support carers—such as those in the gallery today—and young people to enable them to be on the right pathways out of disadvantage. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 make up 29 per cent of all children reported to be at risk of significant harm in the year 2010-11—that is 17,635 young people. We inherited a system in which fewer than one in five children and young people aged 12 to 17 received a response in that year. As at 30 June 2011 approximately 34.3 per cent—just over a third—of the out-of-home care population were adolescents aged between 12 and 17. As we all know, outcomes for children in out-of-home care are particularly troubling and that is why—

Mr John Robertson: Why you cut the budget.

Ms PRU GOWARD: That is why my department—

Mr John Robertson: Cut the budget.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the Leader of the Opposition to order.

Ms PRU GOWARD: That is why my department—

Mr John Robertson: You cut the budget.

Ms PRU GOWARD: Madam Speaker, does the member opposite wish to hear the answer or just do his thing?

The SPEAKER: Order! All members will come to order. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that he asked the question and I should have thought that, given the seriousness of the subject matter, he would be interested in what the Minister has to say in response to his question.

Ms PRU GOWARD: That is why my department is working to reform the way that we prepare disadvantaged adolescents for adulthood and how we support them and their carers when they are in out-of-home care. Part of this work will be to gather the best ideas from representatives of teenagers in care—especially the CREATE Foundation—as well as carers and nongovernment organisations. CREATE has reported that up to 40 per cent of young people experience homelessness within the first 12 months after leaving care.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Wollongong to order for the second time.

Ms PRU GOWARD: Education and training are critical factors.

Ms Linda Burney: Point of order: My point of order relates to relevance under Standing Order 129. The question clearly asked for an explanation for the grandparents in the public gallery about why the Government has taken the decision to cut $200 for their payment. The Minister can say whatever she likes—

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order for the second time. The member will resume her seat. The Minister's answer is directly relevant to the question asked.

Ms PRU GOWARD: And I would have thought that given the disgraceful record of the member for Canterbury as a Minister she should not have taken such a point of order.

Ms Linda Burney: Don't be so nasty—

Ms PRU GOWARD: It is obvious to everyone from that interjection that members opposite are not taking this seriously; it is just another stunt. Members on this side of the House understand that education and training is the best way to avoid not only homelessness but also the cycle of intergenerational poverty and disadvantage. Not only are too many young people who leave out-of-home care homeless, but also they have very severely reduced opportunities for education and training. (Source : http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20120214024?open&refNavID=HA8_1)

"Foster Care"

Page: 5421

Mrs ROZA SAGE: My question is directed to the Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Women. What additional support is the Government giving to help carers protect vulnerable children and their families?

Ms PRU GOWARD: I thank the member for her question and for her ongoing support for services for vulnerable children and young people. This is Foster Care Week and a time to reflect particularly on the fantastic work of our State's carers.

[Interruption]

Madam Speaker, is it tinnitus or is it the member for Canterbury? The voice has got to stop.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Canterbury will be on three calls to order very shortly if she does not come to order. I call the member for Maroubra to order for the second time. The Minister has the call.

Ms PRU GOWARD: Yesterday I was delighted to take my granddaughters to the Foster Care Carnival at Homebush. It was a wonderful day to begin Foster Care Week, with fun for the children and recognition and thanks to the foster parents. I thank the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies for organising the event and the Children's Guardian, Create, the Ombudsman's office, AbSec, Variety, which provided a special swing for children with disabilities, and of course the wonderful staff of Community Services for their voluntary presence and their significant contribution to the carnival. They made excellent and very healthy hamburgers.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Mount Druitt to order for the second time.

Ms PRU GOWARD: There were also a lot of providers and corporate supporters who supplied goods, gifts and plenty of fun and music to children and carers alike. There was another organisation at the core of the carnival, preparing food and offering lucky dips to children. They are also at the core of carers' lives. That organisation is Connecting Carers. Connecting Carers' staff and volunteers have served our State for decades by caring for children and young people. That experience and wisdom assists carers across New South Wales every day with support and advice. It helps connect carers with the department and of course provides extremely valuable carer training around the State.

Connecting Carers' work helps Family and Community Services every day and its insights will also help the Government pursue real reforms by working better and smarter to improve services. That is why today we have announced a major funding boost to Connecting Carers. What better time to do it than Foster Carers Week? Connecting Carers will receive an additional $455,000 to its funding each year, which is an increase in their base funding of 33 per cent. It will be used to run regular Connecting Carers conferences for New South Wales carers. The 2010 conference was only possible due to an underspend in the previous year, but today's decision ensures that carers conferences can take place as a matter of course. Funding for accommodation and travel will ensure that city, regional and rural carers can all gather, network and support each other to discuss the issues they face every day. I am pleased that the next conference will be held at Darling Harbour in the second half of next year.

This funding boost also allows Connecting Carers to continue to offer the successful and popular regional Connecting Carers camps right across the State. They are run for authorised carers and the children and young people in their care, in Community Services regions. Last year 1,152 attended six camps and we expect there will be more. The camps give foster, kinship and relative carers, including grandparents, children and young people, an opportunity to socialise, network, rest a little and have fun in a beautiful bush or coastal setting. The activities are tailored to cater to all levels of physical and intellectual functional ability to ensure everyone enjoys the unique benefits of the programs, and Connecting Carers only chooses locations that have accommodation designed specifically to meet the needs of carers and children.

Finally this funding boost will support Connecting Carers' 24-hour support line, a 1300 number that offers a telephone support service to foster carers, kinship and grandparent carers at all times day and night. This 1300 number receives more than 3,000 calls annually. This service is well worth supporting and developing. This Government is strongly committed to transferring services such as out-of-home care to the non-government sector. The Government will consider expanding the role of Connecting Carers by contestably training carers across the sector aligned to the transfer and reform to improve services. During the next few years the Government will pursue real reform to build the capacity of the whole system to protect children and young people. I thank Connecting Carers and other non-government organisations for their work, and for contributing to improving the lives of children and young people in New South Wales.  (Source : http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/hansArt.nsf/V3Key/LA20110912021?open&refNavID=HA8_1)

"Foster Carers"

Page: 25501
Matter of Public Importance

Mr DAVID HARRIS (Wyong—Parliamentary Secretary) [6.25 p.m.]: Next week is Foster Care Week, which provides an opportunity for the community of New South Wales to show its appreciation for all foster carers, whether they are traditional foster carers or care for their own grandchildren as kinship carers. Their compassion, dedication and commitment to looking after children who cannot live at home with their families makes a huge difference to the quality of the lives of those children. I am acutely aware of the valuable year-round role that foster carers play in our community. I also recognise the value of the different types of care provided—ranging from respite, emergency, short-term and long-term care—and those caring for children with complex and special needs to meet the many and varied circumstances of children needing care.

Many grandparents also step in as kinship carers when families have difficulties. Carers are invaluable because they all help to protect our community's most valuable asset: our children. The Keneally Government is committed to providing and improving support to carers and children in care. Supporting carers through better communication is a key priority for the Government. There are many ways that the Government has been working to achieve this that I will talk about. It has established Connecting Carers NSW, a partnership between Karitane and the Foster Parents Support Network. This service supports foster, kinship and relative carers through peer support activities. Mentoring and training programs are designed to meet the needs of carers and give up-to-date advice on policies and practices. The Government wanted to address foster carers' concerns about potential disclosure of personal details to birth parents so it changed the law to provide greater safeguards. This move received widespread support within the out-of-home care sector.

Community Services has recruited Foster Carer Support Teams right across New South Wales. Those specialist teams focus on recruiting new carers and supporting them in their first 12 months of fostering. They also work closely with existing carers. The extension of those teams has led to an increased number of carer support groups that provide valuable ongoing training and peer support opportunities for carers. As well as the successful Muslim foster carer support group in Sydney's south-west, other carer groups have now been formed specifically for Aboriginal carers and for Vietnamese carers with caseworkers from each of those cultural backgrounds to work with them. The Government also introduced age-based rates for foster carer allowances after consultations with foster carers and based on research on the costs of raising children. The Government recognised the rising costs of caring for kids as they grow. I am pleased that carers in New South Wales are the highest paid in the country.

The Foster Carer Partnership Agreement forges a stronger relationship between Community Services and carers. That is done by encouraging open communication and to identify the levels of support carers should expect in their day-to-day dealings with Community Services. The Government has also produced a series of fact sheets for all carers. They include information to help carers and kids in care understand things such as case meetings, which can be a stressful experience, as well as the important value of life story work and helping children and young people reach their potential at school. This can be particularly challenging for children and young people in care, especially if there have been gaps in past learning opportunities and frequent school changes. Life story work records the experiences, relationships and interests of each child. It is important for all children in care.

The Government recognises the invaluable contribution and sacrifices that grandparents have made to give their grandchildren the loving and safe homes they need. There is better support for kinship carers in New South Wales, including the supported care allowance. This can apply to children in relative care who are not subject to a court order where parental responsibility has been allocated to the Minister. There has been some debate in this place about changes to the supported care allowance, but let me assure the House that grandparents looking after any of their grandchildren in need of care and protection will not be losing this allowance.

I am glad that the Government has announced additional support for grandparents of $60,000 for community organisations to run respite camps for grandparent carers and the children in their care at Wyong, Port Macquarie, Gosford and the Blacktown-Mount Druitt areas. This includes $15,000 for a camp for children from the Wyong area to be organised by the group Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. This funding recognises that grandparents have particular vulnerabilities when taking care of grandchildren. They do so for various reasons, including parental drug and alcohol abuse, parental incarceration, parent mental health issues, child neglect and abuse, or domestic violence.

While dealing with their adult children having issues, grandparents are taking on raising children when they are getting older. We know that, by taking on this responsibility, grandparent carers can become isolated from their peers who may be enjoying retirement while they are busy looking after children. Children being cared for by elderly grandparents can have fewer opportunities to socialise with other children their age. The camps that the Government has announced are occasions for grandparents and children in their care to build support and friendship networks with other families in similar circumstances.

Sadly, the number of children and young people needing out-of-home care has continued to grow steadily over recent years. A number of factors are contributing to this increase, including the growth in child protection reports reflecting international trends, as well as increasing community awareness about child welfare and greater confidence in our child protection system. Foster Care Week is about celebrating and thanking our carers. The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies hosts its annual carnival day on Sunday. This is the first of many events being held across the State next week to acknowledge and thank foster carers. I am pleased that the Minister for Community Services is contributing to the prizes given out to foster families on Sunday. Next week in regional New South Wales there will be morning teas, lunches, celebration dinners, pamper days and picnics to acknowledge and thank all foster carers for the valuable work they do for the State's most vulnerable children. Foster carers are involved in one of the most vital areas of the work of the New South Wales Government. It is fitting for us to demonstrate how much we value them.

Ms PRU GOWARD (Goulburn) [6.32 p.m.]: It is my pleasure to join in discussing this matter of public importance about Foster Care Week and the importance of foster parents and foster parenting. It is, as has already been said, a great form of volunteering. There can be no greater gift than to care for somebody else's child, often in extremely difficult circumstances and without the legal constraints and rights that need to go with effective parenting. Foster parents care for children in constrained circumstances. It is difficult to know how many foster parents there are in New South Wales. I know that 2,500 newsletters are sent to foster parents around the State. However, as there are more than 16,000 children in care there could well be as many as 4,000 or 5,000 foster carers in the State, including kinship carers and, in particular, wonderful grandparents.

Grandparents are at a time in their lives when, having brought up their own children who sometimes have had their own demons and struggles, they would like to slow down. However, they are suddenly faced with the enormous responsibility of bringing up two, three or four children with great energy, often without many resources because they are living on pensions or retirement benefits of some sort. We must acknowledge that a very high proportion of foster parents in New South Wales—I think it is almost half—are kin carers of some kind or another. They are people who go to a non-government sector organisation or to the Department of Community Services and offer themselves as foster parents. They need to be greatly supported. The non-government sector advises me that they provide enormous support for their parents and I understand that this particularly applies to foster parents with high-needs children.

Sadly, one of the changes in the foster care environment in New South Wales is the increasing number of children with complex needs as more and more young women give birth to children with drug and alcohol damage. We are not talking about an epidemic but, in respect of the numbers in the out-of-home care sector, I think it is starting to be a significant source of disability in children and more likely to be seen in the foster care sector. Indeed, the World Health Organization says that foetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the fastest-growing source of disabilities in the world. Children often have very complex needs and foster parents are just good people. They might get some training from the department or they might get some training and assistance from the non-government organisation to whom they have contracted, but I suspect nothing prepares them for some of the difficulties they have to deal with when they work with these children. It is absolutely incredible that they persist in doing it and do it so well most of the time.

The rewards of foster caring obviously are, for them, the sense that they have made a difference to a child's life and that they have been able to contribute their gifts of parenting. They must know that they are reasonable parents or I do not think they would put their hands up. They have been able to give the same patience, love and affection, and enjoyment and guidance that they have felt capable of giving to anybody. It is wonderful to see that they are able to make this offer and contribute in such a significant way. Obviously, they always need more support. We are well-off in New South Wales compared with other States financially, but foster parents constantly remark upon the difficulties of providing sufficient services for their children, particularly since high-needs children need a complex array of support—dental, medical, therapy and counselling. Something that might seem to an ordinary person to be a leisure activity, such as swimming, is often a form of therapy for a child who has been made brain damaged and blinded by childhood abuse from a parent.

We need to give children in these circumstances all the support we can, but that also means that we have to support foster parents, particularly those with adolescents. In my short time in this shadow portfolio I have been struck by the number of foster parents who have come to me having had a wonderful relationship with their foster child for eight, 10 or 12 years—they have treated the child like their own, taken the child on overseas trips—and then at adolescence, when those hormones kick in, all those early tapes, distress and trauma to the child re-emerge in quite a different form. Foster parents are often unprepared for this.

The story of Carol is exactly like that. The child she had had for 12 years hit adolescence and ran away from home. Unfortunately, the department did not support Carol. It considered that she had in some way failed the foster child and allowed the child to go to a series of child refuges and live on the streets. That child was never placed again. As I understand from the foster mother, who still keeps track of the child, she is now prostituting herself and using drugs. That would not be an uncommon story for teenage foster children. We must recognise that if this system is to be viable for the entirety of a child's life until they reach 18 years of age, we have to think much more critically about how we support foster carers of teenage children. I believe that is where we are seeing some difficult and emerging problems.

Tonight is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the coming week and the wonderful activities that are being created to celebrate foster carers. We want foster carers to know we care for them, we know what they have done, we know they need a break and we know they need pampering. That is all part of Foster Care Week. I think all members of the New South Wales Parliament would be unanimous in joining together to say thank you to foster carers and kinship carers in New South Wales.

Ms MARIE ANDREWS (Gosford) [6.39 p.m.]: It gives me great pleasure to join my colleagues the member for Wyong and the member for Goulburn in making a contribution to this matter of public importance. There are of course many children in New South Wales who need care. The New South Wales Government is aiming to reduce the number who cannot live at home, but we will always need foster carers. We can only reduce the number; unfortunately, we can never get away from the facts of child abuse and neglect.

The Keneally Government recently launched a successful campaign to recruit new foster carers for both government and non-government agencies. In April this year every member received posters, leaflets and information brochures for the campaign, which was conducted from April to June. In the 12 weeks from the commencement of the campaign to 15 July 2010, New South Wales Community Services received 1,516 calls to the Carelink 1800 number, received 638 applications, trained 55 foster care applicants, assessed 77 applicants, and authorised 66 foster carers. These are outstanding figures, especially considering the very strict process that goes into selecting foster carers.

It is worth mentioning just how stringent the process is when agencies go about selecting foster carers. First, a phone screen is made to make contact with an applicant and to explain the process. Then a probity check is made, for those who wish to proceed, which also involves a check of Community Services' KiDS database, a Working with Children check, and contact with other foster caring agencies to check for concerns. Once the probity checks are complete, Community Services conducts a home inspection to make sure that the accommodation is safe and secure for children. A foster carer does not have to live in a mansion or in a wealthy suburb but their house or unit has to be safe for children to live and play in. A pool or pond might need fencing or a high staircase might require a childproof gate.

When the checking is nearing completion, prospective carers are trained, in small groups of 10 to 20, with experienced carers and other foster parents. They learn about bonding and attachment, about how children deal with grief and loss, how they cope with trauma and abuse, and about how difficult it can be to maintain their identity when they cannot live with their family. Foster parents have to show that they are able to deal with potentially challenging behaviour, to provide a safe, abuse-free environment, and to work as part of a team with the foster care agency. At any stage a foster carer can withdraw or Community Services may have to determine their training should not proceed. When it comes to foster carers, many are called but few are chosen. Foster carers are not necessarily a special kind of person; foster carers are ordinary people making an extraordinary contribution.

We should take the opportunity during Foster Care Week next week to thank and congratulate all foster carers. We should also recognise that half the children in care are looked after by members of their extended family. This is a special kind of foster care known as kinship care. Many of these carers are grandparents who devote significant time, love and energy in their senior years to caring for their grandchildren. I am very pleased to note that the Government has supported the organisation Grandparents Raising Grandchildren to hold a respite camp for grandparents in the Gosford and Wyong local government areas. The $30,000 funding is very welcome and I am glad that these grandparents will be able to access the opportunity to have some time when their responsibilities are somewhat eased for a while and the grandchildren are given the opportunity to socialise with other children in similar circumstances to their own.

I am also pleased that the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies is having one of the regional events for Foster Care Week in Gosford on Sunday. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those in the community who put themselves forward to care for others and Foster Care Week is a wonderful opportunity to show our thanks. In the years I have been the member for Gosford I have had the opportunity to establish a close association with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and I want to place on record my appreciation to those wonderful grandparents who are taking on the raising of their grandchildren. I say thank you to all the foster carers in my electorate.

Mr DAVID HARRIS (Wyong—Parliamentary Secretary) [6.44 p.m.], in reply: I thank the member for Goulburn and the member for Gosford for participating in the discussion of this matter of public importance. As both speakers said, everyone in this Parliament would acknowledge the fantastic work that carers do in our community. Like the member for Gosford, I have developed a relationship with grandparent carers on the Central Coast and was very fortunate to speak to grandparents at Ourimbah RSL last month about how they can interact better with the education system. I raised the issue that, being grandparents, they had been away from the school system for quite a number of years after bringing up their own children. It is a particular challenge for them to interact with a school system that has changed considerably. This is particularly so if they were caring for teenage children and investigating what sorts of courses they should do in years 9 and 10, whether they should be involved in vocational education and training, and how to have better relationships with the school to help stop things such as suspension.

One of the key parts of that meeting that I found very enjoyable and moving was the welcome to country by indigenous grandparents, followed by a Maori welcome. It showed that those two communities, which have a long tradition of grandparents looking after children in their community, can in many ways be of great value to the rest of the community in understanding that very important role.

I also acknowledge the member for Goulburn's comment that there is no greater gift that someone can give than looking after someone else's child in difficult circumstances. In my life as a teacher and in working in the community I have come across a number of really devastating situations where parents were either unable to continue to look after children or had significant problems that prevented them from caring properly for children. The fact that we have people in the community who are ready to step in and look after these children to make sure they have a loving family situation, are properly clothed and fed, and get a decent education is something we cannot put a value on.

As the member for Gosford rightly said, grandparent carers in particular have special needs because of their age. They just do not have the same energy they had when they were younger to run around and look after sometimes quite young children. When children are placed in care with foster carers, they must be properly supported. The member for Gosford referred to the issues surrounding the process by which carers are selected and how they are given information about dealing with potentially difficult situations. As has been mentioned, there is sometimes even greater difficulty in dealing with teenagers, given they are going through a stage when their hormones are having an effect on them. That is difficult in a normal family situation but with the other pressures when they are in care, it can sometimes be very difficult. As the member for Goulburn said, unfortunately it sometimes leads to them running away and getting into dire situations.

As we look towards next week, I hope many members will contact their local carer organisations and join in some of the activities, such as pampering days, barbecues and other activities. We should also not forget that even carers need respite. One of the main issues people in my electorate raise with me is that they take on this role and it is quite demanding, and every now and then they need a rest and some assistance. That is where short-term respite care comes into its own to give them a rest. The issue of looking after children with special needs was raised. It takes a very dedicated person to take on that role, particularly if the child is not their own. I met a parent a few weeks ago who had a child with intellectual difficulties and she just could not cope any more. The fact that people stepped in and took care of her child was a relief for both the child and the family. Once again, we congratulate carers and thank them for the work they do in the community.

Discussion concluded.  (Source : http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20100908046?open&refNavID=HA8_1)

"Pychologist Toni Single caused two severely disabled children - who were removed from the home of their foster carer on the grounds that she might be a "compulsive care giver" - are on the way home."

The Australian last week reported the case of the woman, a registered nurse, who lost the right to care for the children after a psychologist suggested she was deriving a worrying amount of satisfaction from her role as their carer.

Psychologist Toni Single said the woman might be a "compulsive care giver", meaning she was compelled to care for disabled children so that others would admire her.

The woman had cared for two girls for six years, and for a boy for two years.

All three children are confined to bed. They cannot walk, talk nor feed themselves.

Not-for-profit corporation Life Without Barriers, which employs the woman, said yesterday the girls would be returned to the woman's home. The boy is likely to stay in hospital.

The Australian understands his health is deteriorating.

The woman, who cannot be named because it may identify the children, had intended to take the matter to court. She converted her home into a facility for the three children, widening the hallways for the wheelchairs and installing a spa for water therapy.

Life Without Barriers chief executive Ray Dunn said the decision was "a good result for everyone concerned".

"We place the welfare and care of the children first," hesaid.

Mr Dunn said Life Without Barriers received $2049 per child per week from the Department of Community Services, most of which would be passed on to the carer and her support team.

"Foster carers face abuse trial"

A family accused of abusing foster children in their care by using a wire brush to scrub their bodies will go on trial later this year.

Andrew John Hemara, 53, and Jenny-Lee Hemara, 49 appeared at the Auckland District Court today where they were remanded on bail until their trial in August.

Their 21-year-old daughter, Tamara Lee Hemara, was excused from appearing at court today but will also go on trial.

The trio face 38 charges relating to the abuse of children between the ages of seven and 14 between 2004 and 2010.

It is alleged the Wellsford couple, approved caregivers since 2001, scrubbed the bodies and teeth of their foster children with a wire brush, made them run around a racecourse till they became sick, chained them together and forced them to sleep outside without blankets, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The alleged abuse was uncovered in September 2010 when one of the boys "made a disclosure" to a social worker during a routine visit.

Police were called and the children were removed from the Hemaras' care and placed with new caregivers.

Andrew Hemara, a youth worker, faced 17 charges including allegedly ripping an earring from one boy's ear and forcing his hand into a fire until it burned.

His wife is charged with repeatedly punching and kicking a boy while their daughter is facing 10 charges of assault and three charges of wilful ill-treatment.

The trial has been set down for two weeks. (Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8473930/Foster-carers-face-abuse-trial)

"Foster children left in care despire serious allegations of abuse"

A NSW father who fostered more than 300 children around Sydney confessed to raping a foster child in his care, documents obtained by the Herald show. The man and his wife fostered children for 30 years and had been awarded medals in the Order of Australia for their work. They had also been profiled in an article in The Australian Women's Weekly celebrating foster carers.

The confession in August last year came two years after the Department of Family and Community Services conducted an investigation into claims that the man was sexually inappropriate with foster children. Children were left in his care after the investigation even though the department found some of the behaviour did occur.

The man was remanded in jail in August last year on charges including nine counts of aggravated sexual assault of the teenager, who had a number of disabilities.

His confession came the day after the girl reported the abuse to friends at her school. The rapes he confessed to occurred over a two-month period last year.

"*** GEORGIA AND LUKE CASE FINALLY SETTLED. "Big payout to Foster care kids""

THE NSW Department of Family and Community Services will pay a substantial settlement to two children it forced into foster care after caseworkers noted the infants' parents used marijuana.  Mediation with each of the parents is also likely to result in significant payments to them.

Judge George Palmer, who heard the case to have the children, named Georgia and Luke for the purpose of the proceedings, returned in late 2008, noted at the time that there was "no evidence whatsoever that the parents have ever abused Georgia and Luke physically or emotionally".  He said that the requirement for parents to remain "drug-free" was "questionable".

Yesterday, in the NSW Supreme Court, judge Geoff Bellew said the settlement negotiated by the children's grandfather, a barrister and the department was reasonable and appropriate.

"The infants were subjected to a psychological assessment by Istvan Schreiner . . . who formed the view there was some anxiety condition of the child known as Georgia," Justice Bellew said. "He also noted the children 'presented with trauma-related symptoms'."

"NSW foster carer charged with abuse"

Three children have been found with bruises across their bodies, prompting police to arrest their foster carer in NSW's Hunter region.

On January 10, police were told three children in foster care in the Lake Macquarie Area near Newcastle had a number of injuries.

The children, two boys aged six and seven and a five-year-old girl, had obvious bruising on various parts of their bodies, NSW police said in a statement on Monday.

Child Abuse Squad officers later arrested the children's 47-year-old foster carer.

According to police, officers also seized more than 20 grams of cannabis, 475 grams of a white powder substance, ammunition and a firearm from the woman's home.

The children have received medical attention and are in the care of NSW Family and Community Services.

The woman was charged with a string of offences, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm and drug possession.

She was granted conditional bail to appear in Belmont Local Court on January 20.  (Source : http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2014/01/13/16/47/nsw-foster-carer-charged-with-abuse)

"Foster carer arrested and charged for physically abusing children - near Newcastle"

Child Abuse Squad detectives have arrested and charged a woman for physically assaulting three children in her care.

Last Friday (10 January 2014), police were informed that three children housed in foster care in the Lake Macquarie area were suffering from a number of physical injuries.

The children – two boys, aged 6 and 7, and a girl aged 5 – had obvious bruising on various parts of their bodies.

Police from the Child Abuse Squad’s Newcastle office immediately commenced an investigation into the report and, at 3.15am on Saturday (11 January 2014), arrested the children’s 47-year-old foster carer.

Police seized a firearm, more than 20 grams of cannabis, more than 475 grams of a white powdered substance, ammunition and other items of interest from the woman’s home before taking her to Belmont Police Station where she was charged with:

- Three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm;

- One count of stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm;

- One count of common assault;

- Two counts of possess prohibited drug;

- One count of possess unauthorised firearm; and,

- One count of possess ammunition without holding licence.

The woman was granted conditional bail to appear before Belmont Local Court on Monday 20 January 2014.

"Foster carer charged with assaulting kids"

 A northern NSW foster carer has been charged with indecently assaulting three children in his care. A 77-YEAR-OLD foster carer on the NSW north coast has been arrested and charged with indecently assaulting three children in his care.

The man was arrested at his home in Lennox Head on Wednesday and is accused of indecently assaulting three children previously in his care between 2009 and 2011.

Police say the boy and two girls, aged between seven and 17 years, were being cared for by the man and his wife at the time of the alleged assaults.

He has been charged with four counts of aggravated indecent assault.

He has been granted conditional bail and will appear in Ballina Local Court on February 13.  (Source : http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/foster-carer-charged-with-assaulting-kids/story-fni0xqi4-1226803950905)

"Mother claims complaints about foster carer were ignored"

 Photo: Three children allegedly abused by a Hunter Valley foster carer. (Supplied by family) Map: Newcastle 2300The mother of three children allegedly abused by their foster carer near Newcastle says her repeated complaints to welfare officials about their care were ignored.

The 47-year-old foste r carer is charged with three counts of assault, as well as possessing a gun and drugs.

Police documents tendered in court this week allege the woman acted deliberately and frequently "whacked" the children with a stick, egg flip and belt, and put socks in their mouths while they were hit.

Police say all three had bruises, with doctors unable to count them all on one child.

The children's mother has told the ABC she had domestic violence issues when her children were taken.

She says she complained to welfare officials after several access visits with them.

"I tried to tell them months ago that my kids, on my visits, were telling me they were getting abused," she said.

But she doubts welfare officials took her complaints about the woman seriously.

"I'd spoken to DoCS previously about what my children were saying to me when I had visits with them," she said.