Being a Foster Carer

It is National Carers Week; we celebrate and thank all Carers. 

A Proud Mum of Foster Kids!

Being a Foster Carer has been one of my most rewarding achievements. Seeing a child walk in to your home scared and insecure is heart breaking. Seeing a child walk out of your home with a smile on their face ready to face the world – that is what I call beauty!

Grampians Community Health is excited to hear about the continuing commitment from the state government to support some of our most vulnerable young people who live in out of home care. Numbers of young people requiring, short, medium, long term and even permanent care are increasing therefore we need more carers to share in this much needed commitment.

GCH believes in and supports equality for all, in particular for those that often have little or no voice and face a range of challenges. For young people in out of home care and who live in rural and remote areas, the challenges can be even more significant. Having been part of this great community for over 30 years, GCH is aware of the challenges that living in rural and remote areas can be as well as the great opportunities that exist in our region.  GCH offers a range of supports to people who might already be or thinking of fostering. We provide a range of supports to Carers, access to counselling, links to social opportunities, mental health support, education connections and an intake and referral system to meet everyone’s needs.

In our local community, the out of home care agency that provides a range of foster care options is Uniting Care. GCH values the amazing work that Uniting undertake in this space and we are always happy to provide complimentary services to support carers, young people and extended family and friends. GCH recognises that being a foster carer can be a challenging and rewarding opportunity. The commitment from the state government to provide extra support to carers is welcome and acknowledges the different world we now live in and the make-up of our community is diverse and always changing, therefore policy needs to reflect that change.

Much more work is needed and we need to build on the recent exiting range of commitments to strengthen and reform the out of home care sector. We encourage anyone who might be thinking of becoming a carer to find out more information or to come in and have a chat to one of the many friendly and dedicated staff members at GCH.

In Victoria, it is estimated that nearly 10,000 children currently live in out of home care. About 40% are in foster care, 48% in relative/kinship care and the rest in other forms of home based care. In Australia over 45,000 children live in out of home care and this number continues to rise.

About 40% of those in out of home care have been in that system for 5 years or more. As a community, we have a responsibility to provide care for our most vulnerable and the need for Carers has never been greater. We encourage people, who might have thought about fostering, to take that first step and to find out more.

As a local carer recently said “I was unsure about my ability to be a carer and the extra demands that would come along with it, however after over 15 years of being a foster carer I wouldn’t change a thing. The experience has been so rewarding and the kids in my care have provided me with memories and experiences I will cherish forever” they also went on to say “I encourage anyone who might be thinking of being a foster carer to contact your local agency and to find out more”.

For information on Grampians Community Health Services call 53587400 or drop into our offices in Stawell, Horsham, Ararat, Warracknabeal or St Annaud.

Ready for the NDIS great wave of change

Grampians Community Health is registered NDIS provider

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will roll out in the Western District of Victoria on the 1st of October 2017, creating opportunities for people with a disability and also Grampians Community Health.

The NDIS rollout will occur in the local government areas of Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack. These changes to funding and the need to navigate unchartered waters has created many challenges to the way services traditionally have been provided for not for profit organisations such as Grampians Community Health.

The NDIS is about Choice and Control in delivering funds directly to the participant to choose the services they want from NDIS providers, where once, the funding went directly to the organisation to put in place services for people to access.

Grampians Community Health (GCH) Chief Executive Officer Mr Greg Little said his organisation is committed to providing services through the NDIS without compromising on the GCH history of quality care and support to the community. This has meant that GCH has been working hard toward adapting service delivery to meet the needs of the community and the types of areas people are asking for in their NDIS plans.

Mr Little said “There has been significant planning around how GCH can re-align with the new funding arrangements. Ongoing training and education to staff, and recruitment to meet the needs for both our existing and new participants is a priority in preparedness for the rollout to our local communities on the 1st of October”.

Mr Little said that GCH is a registered NDIS provider. GCH has already been providing services to NDIS participants in the Ararat Rural City Council area since January 2017 and 30 NDIS participants are receiving services in accordance to their plans and goals stated by the participants themselves, and this has helped GCH remodel service delivery to be flexible to people’s needs.

“To date, in navigating the new NDIS requirements with both existing transitioning participants into providing NDIS services, and new participants to GCH, we have been on a huge learning curve around the NDIS Guidelines and identifying solutions to manage the many challenges.” said Mr Little

To assist and guide people through the NDIS towards eligibility and the plan, GCH are offering free individual information sessions in our Stawell office. This can be tailored to a person’s needs such as providing information on how to access the NDIS, or, advice if they have a plan already on how to proceed in purchasing services – which doesn’t necessarily need to be from GCH .

Mr Little said that Grampians Community Health are committed to provide a quality, flexible and individualised service to all participants and will continue to re-align our organisations with the NDIS requirements where possible. This includes the introduction of plan management to assist in setting up your services and we are already providing support coordination. Other areas GCH is implementing under the NDIS are social and recreational activities, skill development and group activities.

“The NDIS focus is all about Choice and Control in what types of supports and services you want and when you want them. It’s about a whole of life approach and living the life you want. This is consistent with Grampians Community Health’s philosophy embedded in every service we provide in our community” said Mr Little.

Some of Grampians Community Health’s participants are continuing with their existing services while others are already looking at broader options available that previously were not considered. For example, one person has chosen to travel to Ballarat in the evening to participate in sport, another has chosen to attend the car races in various venues on a Saturday, and another person is cooking for the first time and attending a live show in the city.

Grampians Community Health has been operating in the Stawell area for over 32 years, and also has offices in Ararat, Horsham, St Arnaud and Warracknabeal with our mission statement to provide for a vibrant and healthy community.

For more information read our NDIS services information.

http://www.stawelltimes.com.au/story/4964167/ndis-rolls-out-across-northern-grampians/

Measles

Measles – what you need to know

The Department of Health and Human Services confirms that there have been 11 confirmed cases of Measles in Melbourne since early September, with 8 of the 11 cases connected through a workplace in Collins Street, Docklands. Two other people affected passed through Melbourne’s international terminal on flights to and from Asia.

Measles is a contagious viral illness that causes a skin rash and fever. Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation). Worldwide, measles is the fifth highest cause of illness and death in children.

Measles is transmitted by airborne droplets and direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes of infected persons and less commonly by articles freshly soiled with nose and throat secretions. It persist in the environment for 30min, including hard surfaces like door handles.

Measles is highly infectious through airborne transmission and has an incubation period of up to 18 days, from exposure to onset of rash.

People at risk include children or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, or documented evidence of laboratory-confirmed measles immunity are considered to be susceptible to measles.

People who are immunocompromised are also at risk.

The best way to prevent infection is to ensure that you and your loved ones are up to date you’re your immunisations. Please check you immunisation records and see your GP if you are in doubt.

What to do if you have been exposed to someone with Measles:

If you’ve been in contact with someone with measles and you are not immune to measles (have not been immunised or have not had a measles infection), there are different treatment options. Speak with your doctor about your options.

Depending on your situation, these may include: Contact in the last 72 hours – have a measles immunisation immediately.

Contact in the last three to seven days – immunoglobulin can be given for interim protection. This is known as passive immunisation. Measles vaccination, or active immunisation, should be given later to prevent further risk of infection, but not until five months after you received the immunoglobulin. Normal human immunoglobulin is given as an injection.

For further information on measles signs and symptoms please refer to the Better Health Channel https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/measles

Source: The Victorian Department of Health and Better Health Channel

Funding support for men’s behaviour change program

Grampians Community Health is well established in delivering specialist family violence services to the Grampians and Wimmera

Grampians Community Health (GCH) has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Families and Children the Hon. Jenny Mikakos that will enable GCH to continue to deliver Men’s behavioural change programs in the Wimmera and Grampians.

In announcing the funding Minister Mikakos said “We know the devastating impact that men who commit family violence has on their own families, as well as the wider community – this is about stamping out this behaviour.”

Grampians Community Health has been delivering the Men’s behaviour change program since 2006 and has supported many men to address their behaviours towards partners, children and family members.

Mr Greg Little, Chief Executive Officer of Grampians Community Health said that the funding announced by the Victorian Government was welcomed by Grampians Community Health who will continue running the Men’s behaviour change group programs in Horsham and Stawell until at least June 2019.

“Over the past year, Grampians Community Health assessed around 130 men who completed the program, supporting them to address their behaviours towards partners, children and family members. This number has grown over time with a greater awareness by the courts of our men’s behaviour change program” Mr. Little said.

Mr. Little said that the strength of the Men’s behaviour change program was its capacity to enable men to understand that they are accountable for the long term effects and repercussions of their behaviour on their families, and that their behaviour is related to power and control.

The funding supports a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence that more men’s behavioural change programs be made available to meet the demands of the community and of court orders. The Andrew’s Labor Government is working to end family violence through its $1.9 billion package of measures in the Victorian Budget 2017/18. This record investment includes $49.4 million over four years for the Changing Perpetrator Behaviour initiative.

Funding will also go to establishing 17 support and safety hubs across the state, delivering after-hours crisis support, counselling and therapy for victims of family violence, and developing a 10-year plan.

Grampians Community Health is well established in delivering specialist family violence services to the Grampians and Wimmera. The Homelessness and Family violence team has for many years supported women and children who are affected by family violence and address their individual support needs.

Family violence support workers offer court support, safety planning and case management to ensure women and their children are supported. Grampians Community Health has a specialist family violence counsellor who is available for women to address the trauma experienced by family violence.

Mr. Little said the implementation of the safety hubs is being piloted in other areas and how the hubs will look in the Wimmera is unsure at this stage. Our communities can be assured however that when they need support the specialist family violence services provided by Grampians Community Health will provide services that aim for safety and social inclusion for all people.

People can access the Homelessness and Family violence programs at Grampians Community Health by calling 03 53585807 or calling into the GCH building at 24 David Street Horsham or the Stawell Health and Community Centre.

 

 Read more here: Funding support for Grampians Community Health men’s behaviour change program– The Wimmera Mail Times 24th August

Vale Fiona Richardson MP

Grampians Community Health is saddened after learning of the death yesterday of the Hon. Fiona Richardson MP.

Fiona Richardson was the Minister for Women and Family Violence in the current Victorian Labor Government and was a strong advocate of the services that Grampians Community Health (GCH) provided to people in our community.

Grampians Community Health Manager of Direct Care Programs Ms Kath Heading said that GCH were privileged to have hosted Fiona Richardson when she visited Grampians Community Health in August 2016 to tour our community health services in Stawell and to meet with the Homelessness and Family Violence Team.

“Her compassion and her commitment to addressing family violence and gender inequality across the Wimmera and Grampians regions was strongly evident. Grampians Community Health offers our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues” said Ms Heading.

Grampians Community Health supports total equality for the LGBTIQ community

Grampians Community Health is proud to be an accredited Rainbow tick organisation since 2012

We support and recognise the importance of safe and inclusive service delivery for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people in our community.

“As a leading health organisation in the region, we take very seriously our duty to support equality for all and provide support to some of the most marginalised groups in our community. “Said Gemma Beavis, chair of the Rainbow committee at GCH.

“We also understand that people in the GLBTIQ community are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with a mental health disorder and be susceptible to discrimination and exclusion in their community” Gemma went on to say.

Grampians Community Health has an established team of Rainbow Committee members who have knowledge of the issues faced by LGBTIQ Australians and are available to speak with for consultations at any time. Grampians Community Health prides itself on the support available for LGBTIQ Australians and provides access to social support groups across the district for young people under the age of 25.

To access any of the free and safe services offered by Grampians Community Health or to hear more about what is available in your area please contact the dedicated intake workers on 53587400 or call into our offices in Stawell, Ararat and Horsham.

The Equal Heart artwork was made by:

“Josh, Emily, Sarah, Norm and Georgia”

The artwork was made by weaving fabric through chicken wire creating a tapestry representing the LGBTI+ community.

The partnership between Grampians Community Health, Central Grampians Llen & Juno Vesta facilitated the project  in July 2017.

New Location for GCH Horsham

 We are excited about this move!

Grampians Community Health is one of 5 community health facilities in rural Victoria to receive funding for facility upgrades.  The grant will cover the cost of relocation of the Horsham site to a refurbished, pleasant and safe environment in a more accessible location. 

“It is a great place to go, we are really excited about this move” , “It helps achieve the long-held ideal of Horsham based health and community services providing a service hub at each end of the city.” Jill Miller CEO

 

 Read more here: Grampians Community Health relocation to create Horsham hub – The Wimmera Mail Times 7th July

Drug Drive Program

Grampians Community Health now offers a local Drug Drive Program.  People who have lost their licence due to drug driving offences are now able to complete a one day program in Horsham or Stawell.

The course aims to provide people with a better understanding of different drugs and their effects, and how to develop strategies to reduce the risks associated with drug use.  Participants will learn about the legalities of drug driving, and gain an understanding of the risks associated with drug impaired driving.  Course facilitators are experienced in adult learning principles, where participants are treated with respect and positive reinforcement used to encourage participation.

Grampians Community Health has provided Alcohol & Other Drug Services for over 28 years, and delivered the Drink Drive program for 22 years.  In 2014 we applied for accreditation with the Victorian Accredited Driver Education Programs to deliver the Drug Drive Program and assessments to residents across the Wimmera and Grampians regions.  Having this accreditation means improved access to the course for people in our local community.

The first Drug Drive program will be offered in Horsham next Wednesday the 18th March.

For more information about the program please contact Thea or David at Grampians Community Health (03) 5362 1200