(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]

Setting the space for safer engagement (October BCF recap)

What do we want to understand from children and young people? Recent Better Chances Forum (BCF) connection meetings have focused on engagement practice. In October 2022 we stopped to think about what we really want to know and understand from children and young people, and to reflect on children and young people’s experience of engaging with us. Twelve BCF members participated in the session and insights from the conversation are summarised below.

  • Support and building trust are important when we are asking children and young people questions about what they want. They need to understand why information is being requested, where the information will go, how it will be used and how we will come back to them about how the information they provided has influenced the service they receive or other changes.
  • Knowing the boundaries can be important to children and young people feeling safe in a conversation. We can challenge traditional boundaries to work with what is right for that child or young person. A follow-up theme was identified about creating boundaries without bias.
  • Support children and young people to regulate – look for opportunities to role model and to share skills and ways to regulate.
  • Follow cultural protocols (and ask about protocols if you are unsure).
  • When we ask questions, we can try to find out about a whole person, not just their needs and not just needs relating to our service.
  • Thinking about language:
    • ask what words mean to people rather than assuming. Keep in mind that words can mean different things to different people (words like transparent, accountable and case management)
    • ask how people would like to be addressed. Sharing your own pro-nouns can be a good way to open this discussion.
  • We need to offer more platforms for children and young people to have a voice, especially First Nations children and young people. This supports accountability.

BCF facilitates monthly connection and reflection spaces for community sector workers. You can connect with BCF via email [email protected].

Transgender Awareness Week: when actions speak louder than words

Transgender Awareness Week: when actions speak louder than words

Australia ProBono has published a great article ahead of Transgender Awareness week (November 13 – 19), republished here:

Many communities will be celebrating, gathering, and mourning together next week in commemoration of Transgender Awareness Week, running from 13–19 November, and on Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November.

While Transgender Awareness Week has its roots in trans communities and has gone on to be embraced by the broader LGBTIQA+ community, it is now observed in many workplaces across the social services sector and beyond.

The week is significant not only because it raises the visibility of trans and gender diverse people in our own lives, as well as nationally and globally, but also because it promotes connection to the issues affecting trans and gender diverse communities, amplifies trans people’s voices and experiences, and importantly, brings attention to issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence inflicted on trans and gender diverse people.

In addition to providing visibility, connection, and celebration, Transgender Awareness Week offers an important opportunity for allies to understand and bring attention to issues of prejudice, discrimination and violence that affect trans and gender diverse people.

Trans and gender diverse people continue to face marginalisation and discrimination in the form of transphobia and transmisogyny, which describes how trans women face a more heightened and aggressive form of misogyny.

Negative attitudes and beliefs about trans people; irrational fears and misunderstandings; disbelief or dismissal of a person’s pronouns or gender identity and misgendering; derogatory language and name-calling; and bullying, abuse, and violence are all examples of transphobia.

Transphobia and associated stigma can also create barriers and deterrents to the access and inclusion of trans and gender diverse people in services, resources and communities.

As allies, it is our responsibility to work in solidarity to name, challenge, and break down these barriers. We should all be committed to challenging marginalisation and discrimination based on gender identity and expression as a sector that prides itself on values of care and inclusivity.

Consider how your actions will speak louder than words throughout next week and what your organisation can do to promote the inclusion, affirmation, and celebration of trans and gender diverse people.

Transgender Awareness Week concludes on 20 November with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). The day was founded in 1998 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, who held a vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed that year. The vigil evolved into a commemoration of all trans lives lost to violence that year, and it has since become an annual event.

Today, TDOR is a day of community gathering, togetherness and solidarity to remember those lost, celebrate resilience in the face of adversity and pledge to fight transphobia in order to create a safe and inclusive world for all.

In Gwendolyn’s own words, “TDOR seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people—sometimes in the most brutal ways possible—it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

While all forms of transphobia must be condemned, it is critical to recognise that not all forms of transphobia are the same, especially when trans women face disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence. Last year, 96 per cent of those murdered globally were trans women or transfeminine people.

Beyond Transgender Awareness Week, the organisations in which we work and the communities we are part of should contribute to the inclusion of trans and gender diverse people through respect and the pursuit of equity.

Creating cultures of belonging necessitates ongoing care, attention and support that should be embedded in policies and strategies. The reward is a thriving environment in which everyone can flourish and meaningful change can be made.

For further information about Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit Minus 18 and Trans Awareness Week and TDOR websites. For anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral, contact QLife on 1800 184 527.

Nevena Spirovska  |  @ProBonoNews

Nevena Spirovska is an LGBTIQA+ activist, campaigner and proud community volunteer. She has dedicated herself to the for-purpose sector and has been highly engaged with grassroots movements and campaigns supporting LGBTIQA+ equality, human rights, and addressing the drivers of structural disadvantage. Twitter: @NevenaSpirovska


Change Together 2023 workshop dates and 2022 spots still available!

Change Together 2023 workshop dates and 2022 spots still available!

There are still spots available in the ‘Change together – Learning to keep more children safe and families together’ training.

Go to Enrol now on Thrive

2022 spots still available:

  •  Thursday 10 November – Talking with children and young people
  • Tuesday 15 November – Culturally responsive practice
  • Tuesday 22 November – Foundations of child protection     
  • Thursday 24 November – Talking with families

2023 January and February workshop dates

  • Thursday 19 January – Foundations of child protection
  • Wednesday 1 February – Commonly co-occurring issues in child protection
  • Thursday 2 February – Mandatory reporting
  • Tuesday 7 February – Talking with children and young people
  • Tuesday 14 February – Trauma responsive practice
  • Thursday 28 February – Working with families for change
  • February date TBC – Culturally responsive practice

For any questions about the program or to subscribe to the mailing list for updates on new modules please email [email protected]

How do we strengthen the way we engage with children, young people, their families and communities? – Invite to participate in Better Chances Forum Engagement Practice Project Workshops

How do we strengthen the way we engage with children, young people, their families and communities? – Invite to participate in Better Chances Forum Engagement Practice Project Workshops

Better Chances Forum Engagement Practice Project Workshops across the Northern Rivers.
To register please use the online form.


In 2022 the Better Chances Forum (BCF) facilitated workshops with workers and managers from Early Intervention Connect (EIC) Services in Northern NSW.

Four workshops were held in Tweed Heads, Lennox Head, Grafton and online in June 2022. There were 39 participants. Workshops were jointly facilitated by Social Futures and Ngunya Jarjum.

Participants worked in small groups – sharing experiences of successful engagement with a child, young person or family, and discussing what made the engagement successful, followed by larger group discussion about implications for our engagement practice.

Engagement practice themes
What the sector told us was important?

·  Relationships, relationships, relationships

·  Self– determination, empowerment and decision making

·  Working with humanity

·  Practical engagement tips

These insights can be found in the report here.

Where to from here?

Participants were keen to continue working together to develop shared approaches and tools to guide how we engage with children, young people, their families and communities. BCF will host additional workshops to develop a shared practice guide/tools and continue to facilitate reflective practice conversations focused on engagement.

We are also committed to including the voices of children, young people families and communities as we develop our practice together.

 How to participate?

A series of workshops to be held throughout the Northern Rivers. Lunch will be provided at face to face workshops. 

·  Grafton – Wednesday 16 November 2022 – 10:30am – 1:30pm – Vines @ 139 Cafe, Grafton 

·  Ballina – Thursday 8 December 2022- 9:30am – 1:00pm – Ballina Surf Club (within BCF forum)

·  Online (via Teams) – Wednesday 18 January 2023 – 11:00am – 1:00pm (teams invite will be sent upon registration)

·  Tweed – Wednesday 15 February – 10:00am – 1:00pm – Tweed Civic Centre

To register for these free workshops please use the online form.

We encourage you to consider engagement tools/frameworks/guides you currently use before you participate. The intention is to enhance our existing tools by developing a shared tool which can support us with engagement. During the sessions we will take time to discuss:

·  how do our existing tools and frameworks support us to understand and connect with children, young people and families

·  what do we need to support the engagement practice themes identified in the 2022 engagement practice workshops

·  what is needed in shared engagement tools [or a shared practice guide]?

Get involved

e:           [email protected]

w:          socialfutures.org.au/sector-support/

Ian: 0438 005 798
Katrina: 0416 277 244 

NCOSS Election Advocacy Toolkit for 2023 NSW Policy Platform: Working Together for a Fairer NSW

NCOSS Election Advocacy Toolkit for 2023 NSW Policy Platform: Working Together for a Fairer NSW

NCOSS (New South Wales Council of Social Service) is holding a discussion around effective advocacy ahead of the next state election.

This Online discussion will be held on Friday 9 December at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Register here.

The NSW state election on 25 March 2023 is a real opportunity to work towards a New South Wales where everyone can access the basics, the resources and the supports we all need in order to lead a decent life.

Through consultations and a targeted, comprehensive research agenda, NCOSS has developed a policy platform called ‘Working Together for a Fairer NSW’.

The policy platform sets out how the next NSW Parliament and the social service sector can work together to achieve a fairer NSW.

Join us for a highly useful and timely discussion.

In this hour-long online session, you will learn more about NCOSS’ 2023 NSW election advocacy toolkit, and how to use it in order to optimise your advocacy efforts.

You will hear practical tips from ‘subject matter experts’ on how to best advocate for your ‘asks’ with key decision makers.

Guest speaker/s: to be confirmed

Who should attend

  • Small to medium-sized organisations across the NSW social service sector
  • Community and sector advocates

Register HERE.  

Attendance is free, but RSVP is required. You will receive an online meeting link shortly after registering.

Heads up: NCOSS election advocacy toolkit

The toolkit will be uploaded and available to view on NCOSS website from Friday 25 November. Watch this space!

Queries to: [email protected]

Dadirri training to be held in Ballina in October

Dadirri training to be held in Ballina in October

Dadirri training will be held in Ballina on Tuesday October 18 and Wednesday October 19.

There are some free positions for Mob to attend. Training is being delivered by We Al-li for Social Futures.

The training introduces Dadirri as the core of all We Al-li practices and skill based learning outcomes. Dadirri provides the foundation for culturally safe practices and establishes a respectful healing environment for skills transference in all We Al-li professional development trainings. Learning to communicate with ourselves and each other at deep levels is primary to effective practice.

This training opportunity is for community workers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in their daily work. There is a fee for attendance to this training which will include the training, catering and an opportunity to delve into the practice of Dadirri. This training opportunity will be at a cost of $290 per participant.

We also have some fee free positions for mob in the community to attend – please choose this option when registering for your ticket.

Register via https://www.trybooking.com/CDCLD

For further information contact Lisa Hopwood on phone 0400 680 300 or email [email protected] 

First 2000 days Conference to be held in November

First 2000 days Conference to be held in November

The First 2000 days Conference will be held on Wednesday, November, 9 from  9am to 4.30pm in Ballina.

It will take place at the East Ballina Surf Club.

It will feature the launch of NNSW LHD First 2000 Days Implementation Plan.

Keynote Speaker is  Professor Liz Murphy  who will look at the importance of the First 2000 days

Other speakers are Professor Melissa Green – the NSW Child Development Study– School of Psychiatry-UNSW and Professor Judy Atkinson – Understanding inter-generational healing and recovery from Trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

This is free to NNSWLHD Health staff to register NNSWLHD Staff email: [email protected]

$30 for Partner Agencies staff register online:

NNSWLHD First 2000 Days Conference Tickets, Wed 09/11/2022 at 9:00 am | Eventbrite


Better Chances Forum asks: How can we strengthen engagement practice?

Better Chances Forum asks: How can we strengthen engagement practice?

The Better Chances Forum (BCF) hosted a series of workshops focused on engagement practice in June.

A report has been created summarising the
workshops with workers and managers from early intervention services in Northern NSW.
Themes and information from the workshops and other related BCF meetings and activities will inform the development of shared practice tools for forum members. 

In 2022/23 the Better Chances Forum is focusing on strengthening engagement practice – with children, young people, families and community. The workshops provided an opportunity to reflect and learn with colleagues, about: 

  • how we engage children, young people and families in our services
  • the essential contribution of family and community-led supports alongside funded and clinical services
  • sharing and developing strategies to strengthen our engagement practice, noting that information shared in the workshops will inform development of shared tools for Better Chances Forum.

Themes discussed in the workshops included:

  • relationships, relationships, relationships!
  • self-determination, empowerment and decision-making
  • working with humanity
  • and practical engagement tips from workshop participants.

In 2022-23, BCF aims to host further workshops to build on this learning and develop shared tools that support and build our engagement practice. To connect with BCF contact [email protected]

Download the BCF engagement reflection workshops report.


North Coast Aboriginal Youth Forum – 12th October 2022

North Coast Aboriginal Development Alliance (supported by Aboriginal Affairs) have partnered with the Office for Regional Youth to deliver the inaugural North Coast Aboriginal Youth Forum on the 12th October 2022.

Registrations are on Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/north-coast-aboriginal-youth-forum-2022-tickets-382712351947 or on the poster QR code.

Registrations requiring transport will close on 6th October 2022

Over the last few years, communities have been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19, floods, bushfire and drought. It is important that young people are supported to contribute and be actively involved in taking action to support their communities.

The Youth Forum will help participants to:

  • Discuss issues impacting Aboriginal young people living in the North Coast region,
  • Discuss flood recovery impacts on young people and local recovery strategies,
  • Inspire ideas and actions for change,
  • Connect with young people from across the region,
  • Identify opportunities to create meaningful leadership structures to influence the systems and structures that impact Aboriginal people

The forum will conclude with a session on ways forward, identifying key recommendations and potential pathways to creating long-lasting changes that will empower Aboriginal young people for generations to come.

Transport and lunch provided. For more information, please contact – Kasey Shannon or Gemma Moore from Office for Regional Youth on 02 6640 3800

Free Early Days workshops in Ballina and online – for parents and family members of young children (0-6 years) who are on the autism spectrum.

Free Early Days workshops in Ballina and online – for parents and family members of young children (0-6 years) who are on the autism spectrum.

The Early Days program is running a series of FREE workshops for parents and family members of young children (0-6 years) who are on the autism spectrum.

Early Days workshops are also suitable for parents who may have concerns about their child but have not received a formal diagnosis. See attached flyer for full details.

There are two being held face to face locally:

  • ·   Understanding Behaviour in Ballina on Tuesday, September 13
  • ·   My Child and Autism face to face in Ballina on Monday, October 17

Early Days workshops are for everyone, including workshops tailored to first nations families and communities, and families and communities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The workshops are run by professionals who have extensive experience and knowledge in working with young children on the autism spectrum.

 Early Days workshop topics include:

          My child and autism

          My child and autism – Girls

          Understanding behaviour

          Progression to school

          Developing independence skills

          Developing independence skills – toileting

          Play and social learning

          Helping my child cope with change


These workshops are also designed to provide opportunities for families to network with others and share their experiences with one another. There an online drop in sessions for parents as well. This will help support families to navigate systems in order to access best-practice early childhood supports.

For more information or contact Jo Ann on phone 0466 422 540, email [email protected] or visit the website www.autismspectrum.org.au  

Early Days Schedule Flyer September 2022