Barnardos x sass & bide 2024 ‘Tribute’ jumper

Introducing the 2024 limited-edition sass & bide jumper ‘Tribute’ in partnership with Barnardos Australia, helping to raise awareness and vital funds with the support of actor, comedian and writer Celeste Barber.

This year, children of Barnardos Yalmambirra Learning Centre in Wellington, NSW, contributed to the design of the jumper by creating face drawings, as a tribute to their dedicated teachers.

The money raised from the sass & bide jumper will have such huge impact on the Yalmambirra Learning Centre and elevate the children’s learning experience overall. We would love to update the facilities which are desperate need of improvements and repairs to make them more kid friendly, as well furniture and play equipment. – Shiree, Yalmambirra Program Manager

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The Age: Sydneysiders Trent and Paul defied the odds to become parents

Paul Wood (left) and Trent Schatzmann with two of their three children. They want same-sex couples to have the same opportunity to adopt as other couples. Image credit: Rhett Wyman

As the proud adoptive parents of three siblings, Trent Schatzmann and Paul Wood believe there should not be any barriers for same-sex couples to adopt.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes and the way in which children are provided with a stable, loving home environment should not be determined by sexuality,” says Wood.

The couple from Lilyfield in Sydney, who have been together for 20 years and were married in Switzerland in 2012, knew they wanted to help children in need through permanent fostering or adoption. They approached Barnardos Australia because they knew the agency had advocated for the rights of same-sex couples to adopt.

The couple took in a brother and sister 10 years ago, then aged four and two, then their younger brother a few years later. Initially, they fostered the children, then adopted them. Like all adoptions in NSW, it’s an open arrangement where the children remain in contact with their birth family.

The couple say they have found fatherhood fulfilling, and have been embraced by their local community. They would encourage anyone thinking about having a family to consider fostering as a valuable way to do it.

Yet, in 2024, adoption is still not as straightforward for LGBTQ people as for heterosexual people because much of the work of government is outsourced to private agencies with a legal right to discriminate.

NSW changed the law in 2010 to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, but that law is inconsistently applied.

The NSW child protection system is heavily reliant on third-party providers, with more than 40 different fostering and adoption agencies, in what the Public Service Association has branded a “failed experiment”.

Each agency has its own policies: some only take couples not single people, upper age limits vary, and some openly say they do not place children with same-sex couples. The providers with religious affiliation are legally exempt from discrimination laws, despite being publicly funded.

Last year Australia was criticised in a United Nations report for allowing government-funded foster care and adoption agencies to reject prospective families based on sexuality, gender identity and faith.

In a recent case, Anglicare Sydney, an agency licensed for both fostering and adoption in the Greater Sydney region, refused to assess the aunt of an Aboriginal baby as a prospective long-term carer because she was in a same-sex relationship.

As first reported by The Guardian, the baby was instead placed with a non-Indigenous heterosexual couple and the Department of Communities and Justice recommended adoption.

NSW Minister for Families and Communities Kate Washington has asked for a review of this case and met with Anglicare Sydney to express her concern with its policy regarding same-sex foster carers.

LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Australia legal director Ghassan Kassisieh says: “The outdated prejudice of faith-based service providers must never take precedence of the lives and wellbeing of children.

“As a Christian man, I was offended.” – Dwone Jones

“People should be judged on their merits and not their sexuality, especially when a service provider is acting as an agent of the government.”

When Jay Lynch and Dwone Jones tried to adopt a child in 2012, they found their sexuality was an insurmountable hurdle.

The two men, who are celebrating 20 years together this month and are married, wanted to provide a home to a child in need rather than bringing a new life into the world.

The only positive response the couple received was from Barnardos Australia, but the agency did not cover Tamworth where they lived at the time.

Jones, who emigrated to Australia in part to escape the oppression he felt as a gay, black man in the United States, says he felt “surprised and hurt and angry”.

“We’re in the highest tax bracket and our government is taking our taxpayer dollars and putting it into these Christian organisations that, in my opinion, don’t reflect Christian values,” Jones says. “As a Christian man, I was offended.”

Lynch, an agnostic who grew up on Sydney’s northern beaches, was less surprised though also disappointed. He says if there had been options to adopt in Australia, he and Jones would have a family, but it’s now too late.

The couple also researched overseas adoption only to find many countries barred adoption to same-sex couples as well. They seriously considered fostering and attended a weekend course before realising it was rarely a pathway to adoption and deciding it was not for them.

“I realised that for me, I wanted to be a dad, I wanted to have a family, I didn’t want to be a ‘carer’ and they are two really different things,” Lynch says.

“I really admire people who are capable of providing that care that is so needed for a month, or three months or a year and then be comfortable with the child going back to their own family or to another environment, but it wasn’t something I could do.”

Schatzmann and Wood shared these misgivings, but took the risk. “We had originally wanted to take children with permanent orders, but when we took our [first] two children … it was under temporary orders,” Schatzmann says. “There were some stressful periods at the beginning, but it did become permanent, and then that did lead to adoption.”

However, the couple’s smooth run from being foster parents to legal adoption is unusual. Several dozen children are adopted by their carers every year, a fraction of the 15,000 children in care across NSW. Being in Sydney, they had more adoption providers to approach,

Besides the Department of Communities and Justice, there are 43 private agencies licensed to manage foster care in NSW, including 17 Aboriginal organisations specialising in First Nations children.

Just six of these agencies provide adoption services out of the child protection system, and two of them – Anglicare Sydney and Wesley Community Services – openly state on their website that they do not place children with same-sex couples.

The other four – Barnardos Australia, Life Without Barriers, Key Assets and Family Spirit – say they do not discriminate, but three of these don’t cover the whole state. Greater Sydney is well represented, but in some parts of NSW, there are only one or two adoption agencies in operation.

Anglicare Sydney and Family Spirit are the only two agencies that also provide voluntary local adoption services, where the birth parents voluntarily give up a child and the agency introduces them to prospective adoptive parents.

The NSW government is working on large-scale reform of the child protection system overall, including the arrangements for adoption, a process it says will take time.

A department spokesperson says it supports “all eligible families who want to adopt or foster children in NSW, including members of the LGBTIQ communities”.

Wesley Mission chief executive Reverend Stu Cameron says the agency tries to ensure children have positive, nurturing relationships with their biological mother and father and, when that is not possible, to provide them with carers who are similar to their birth parents.

An Anglicare Sydney spokesperson says the agency “serves in accordance with the doctrines of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, which believes the best interests of a child are best served by giving access to both mothering and fathering, wherever possible”.

A spokesperson for Key Assets, which covers Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter New England, says the agency supports adoption by members of the LGBTQ community when it is in the best interests of the child or young person.

Life Without Borders, which operates statewide, says it has been open to LGBTQ foster carers since 2001, but has only been licensed for adoption services since April 2023.

Barnardos Australia, which covers the Sydney-Wollongong-Newcastle region and out to Orange in the Central West, pioneered adoption to same-sex couples in 1985 by facilitating LGBTQ people to adopt as individuals.

Family Spirit is affiliated with the Catholic Church, but chief executive Sheree James says it operates at arm’s length from the church and assesses LGBTQ couples on an equal basis with other applicants.

The agency, which was established five years ago, operates its adoption services from out-of-home care in the Nepean Blue Mountains and Southwestern Sydney areas, but its small voluntary local adoption program is statewide.

James says about half of its applicants are LGBTQ. For voluntary local adoptions, it is up to the birth parent to choose the adoptive parents, and most are open to LGBTQ couples.

“I remember one woman saying she would love to have her baby adopted by two dads because then she would always be her mum,” James says.

This article first appeared in The Age here.

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Barnardos Australia at the Business of Esports & Gaming summit

At Barnardos our vision is to empower every child in Australia to reach their full potential. One of the ways we aim to achieve this is through our newly launched fundraising initiative called the Barnardos League of Champions.

With this, we are collaborating with online streamers and content creators across Australia, challenging and rewarding them to champion a cause which is close to everybody’s hearts, whilst raising vital funds for Barnardos at the same time!

We’re delighted to announce that we have been selected as the official charity partner at a national event called the Business of Esports and Gaming Summit in Melbourne on April 26 – 27.

This is an amazing opportunity for Barnardos to be able to raise awareness around the League of Champions and what this will enable us to do in the future.

In addition to being the official charity partner, some staff from Barnardos will be speaking at the event, talking about how eSports are borderless, and that gaming is for all abilities and all communities. Other companies who will be speaking at the event include the NBL, Activision Blizzard, Monster Energy and many more.

If this event sounds like something you would be interested in attending, you can find out more here

As the official charity partner, we have a discount code which provides a $300 discount on the ‘Regular Bird’ ticket price. The code to use here is DAN300

Get tickets

A legacy of care

Margaret Ogden remembers her mother, Betty, as “a very caring woman and a wonderful lady whose life was all about service.” Her mum had a profound influence on the values Margaret still
holds dearly today.

Betty shared the same values as Barnardos, and in memory of her mother, Margaret is leaving a gift to Barnardos in her Will. Growing up in a small country town in the English Midlands, Margaret then headed off to university and worked for a year in a hospital as part of her degree. She recalls first meeting the social workers and having a lightbulb moment: “I can do the same as mum and get paid for it”.

A few years after completing post graduate studies in Social Work, Margaret married an Australian and moved to Sydney. Initially she worked for the NSW Community Services Department until she was appointed as a case manager to Barnardos Find-a-Family in 1995 at the newly opened Gosford office.

Margaret has fond memories of her 16 years at Barnardos working with children and their foster carers. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved working with the kids in care and met some amazing foster
parents. It was more satisfying; we had a smaller number of children on our caseload which meant we had time to really take care of their needs.”

Reflecting on her experience of working with Barnardos, Margaret’s unwavering belief in the organisation is evident: “I trust that Barnardos uses the money well. They’re very professional
and have a long history of helping children and changing their lives”.

Since her retirement, Margaret has been volunteering with a number of community groups on the Central Coast, as a continuation of her life of service, just like her mother had done. Margaret’s daughter has adopted those same values and spent some years volunteering overseas.

The values passed onto her from her own mother were key to Margaret’s decision for including Barnardos in her Will. “It’s important to give and I hope my gift will help others”.

Team Bliss welcome Barnardos Australia as HQ Charity Partner

Team Bliss are pleased to announce Barnardos Australia as the charity partner for Bliss HQ in 2024. Barnardos are an Australian charity focused on ending child abuse and neglect by supporting families to keep children and young people safe at home.

In a collaboration aimed to promote the League of Champions campaign by Barnardos Australia, Team Bliss will establish donation points at the Bliss HQ in Brisbane and across all live activations for 2024.

As part of the partnership, all donations of $5 and above will go into a monthly draw to win a Logitech G Pro X2 Keyboard supplied by Team Bliss.

Speaking on the partnership, Brendan Harms, Chief Operating Officer of Team Bliss says, “Supporting young gamers has always been our main focus at Team Bliss. This collaboration with Barnardos is a way for us to continue doing our part in empowering children across Australia to reach their full potential.”

You can support Team Bliss and Barnardos Australia in their campaign to support families by donating via the QR code in the image below:

ABOUT TEAM BLISS

Team Bliss are a competitive esports organisation based in the Oceanic region. Driven by their passion for gaming, the founders started the organisation in 2019 in hopes to support young talented gamers reach their dreams of being competitive gamers in a sustainable and healthy way.

Today, Team Bliss is best known for being the home of some of the regions’ best FPS pros, and their incredible debut split in League of Legends in 2023.

Bliss HQ is based in Brisbane, Australia — with a facility dedicated to coaching and training for any competitive gaming teams looking to take it to the next level. It also acts as a hub to the general public and facilitates community programs such as community LANs and viewing parties.

Bliss is proudly supported by Logitech G, GameAware & oizoioi Apparel.

Children: The Hidden Victims of Domestic Violence Podcast

We are not going to stop talking about the impact that domestic and family violence has on children until every child is safe and supported. At the end of the global campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence’ we sat down with CEO of DVNSW Delia Donovan and our CEO Deirdre Cheers to talk about how we can make change to create a violence free world for children and young people. Big thanks to Delia for joining us for an important discussion that examined where we need to head as a sector, a state and a community against violence.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR ADVOCACY

 

Our 22-23 Annual Review is here

We are proud to announce the release of our Annual Review 2022-2023 featuring the stories of our children’s champions in action.

This publication sets the scene of the issues children, young people and families are facing and how we help. It outlines our strategy and practice, as well as our impact on our community.

From speaking up for children through our advocacy work, to our amazing foster carers, youth outreach and programs supporting mums in custody – its a great look at who we are and what we do!

Download a copy today

Concrete playground: Peter Pan Summer Op Shop Sale 2023

The biannual clothing drive returns to Paddo RSL this November.

For almost 80 years, a biannual, women-only charity event has been putting clothes on the backs of customers and vulnerable children alike. Hosted by Barnardos Australia and the Peter Pan Committee, the Peter Pan Summer Op Shop brings together donations from everyday Aussies alongside designer brands for three days of clothing bargains. All the proceeds go to Barnardos, a charity dedicated to helping vulnerable children who suffer from abuse or neglect.

The upcoming Peter Pan Summer Op Shop will be hosted at the Paddington RSL from Friday, November 10 to Sunday, November 12. On offer will be a massive haul of wearable items, including a surplus of designer goods, pre-loved favourites, vintage pieces or end-of-season stock from local retailers. Additionally, this time, Kult Models will be supporting the event with clothing and talent to support the proceedings.

Donations are still welcome and encouraged, so if your wardrobe is overflowing with outfits you never wear anymore, this is a great reason to send them to a new home — your clothes will join a catalogue next to brands like Sass & Bide, Zimmermann, Dior, Camilla and more.

The Peter Pan Summer Op Shop runs from 10.30am to 5pm on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, and then from 10.30am to 3pm on Sunday, November 12. For more information, click here.

This article first appeared in Concrete Playground here.

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Meet Barnardos Foster Carer Kulander

“My name is Kulander and I’ve been fostering with Barnardos for over 10 years.

Back then I was living on my own here in Grays Point, a beautiful area on the fringe of the National Park. I was sick to death of going to clubs and pubs and doing all of that sort of thing. I guess I wanted to contribute to something beyond my own wellbeing, so I thought I’d try out doing respite foster care where you care for a child one weekend a month.

I knew Barnardos supports children, so I contacted them. The introduction to Barnardos was quite good, I came along to an information session and then started doing some of the training. When I was nearing the end of my training, one of the caseworkers came over to me and said, “Oh, we’ve got this urgent situation. Would you be able to take a child this weekend?”

So I said yes. I initially went over to where he was placed, just to meet him briefly, and then they brought him over to spend the weekend here. So that’s how I started providing respite care for Andrew when he was 7 years old.

He would spend the summer holidays here and I think it was about six months later they approached me again and said Andrew needed a permanent placement and if I’d be interested in having him. I did think hard about it then I thought, “Well, yes, OK, I’ll try it”. Then came the exhaustive assessment period that you have to go through. At the end of it, I was successful, and he moved in back in April 2012. Ten years on he’s just turned 18.
As a single gay man, I’ve always felt accepted by Barnardos. I remember telling one of the workers who completed my assessment. “Oh last night I had a really weird dream where I was coming down the hallway to meet you, and I was in the dress with sequins all over it!” So we had a bit of a chuckle. I’ve always found all the workers at Barnardos to be very accepting.

My caseworker David has been truly fantastic. He’s always been there to pick up the phone and just listen to whatever goes on. I now have Andrew’s younger brother living with me and he’s been very supportive of whatever suggestions I put forward for the placement and whatever our needs are. The level of support from Barnardos has been wonderful.
For me, because Andrew was already school aged, I was able to maintain full-time employment which was very important to me. I took some extended holiday leave while he settled in and then negotiated to work from home occasionally. We also utilise after-school care and vacation care so being a permanent foster carer doesn’t have a huge impact on my employment. Barnardos also provides a carer allowance to cover the cost of caring for the child.

For any people that are interested, especially gay people, all I can say is that it will change your life. And it’ll be a pleasant change. Having Andrew in my care has connected me to the local community in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise because the kids go to school, they do soccer, they do all of the after-school activities. You end up sitting on the side of the soccer field each Saturday morning, you meet all the neighbours, you meet all of the other people in the area. And it’s such a lovely warm sort of feeling that you get as a result of that. That’s probably one of the biggest benefits I can see. I think it also keeps you current and contemporary with a lot of the youth issues and you get to learn all the new teenage language!

In terms of maintaining contact with friends as a permanent carer, I’m given respite care once a month, so I’m still able to maintain my links with my other friends in the city. I really am grateful to Barnardos because it’s an opportunity that I’ve had that I wouldn’t have been able to get in any other way.”

Local youth worker Zanette Clements is keen to help kids reach for the stars

Zanette Clements, Reconnect Team Leader for Cobar, Nyngan and Warren, was featured in The Cobar Weekly on her ‘reach for the stars’ attitude and encouragement towards local young people to believe they can do amazing things.

Zanette’s quotes include:

“The Reconnect program is an early intervention program for young people aged 12 to 18 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

“We recognise that there are many factors that can contribute to young people being at risk, and we work with the young person to provide appropriate support and strategies to improve circumstances and outcomes for them and their families.”

“I wanted to encourage children and young people, especially in my hometown of Cobar, to reach for the stars and to always believe that they can do amazing things, anything is possible and that yes, sometimes it is hard growing up and working out what you want for yourself, but if you have community and people that believe in you, you can truly achieve your goals, whatever that may be.”

“A young person will eventually open up and more than likely, there is more to their story.”

Read the full article here

This article first appeared in The Cobar Weekly.

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