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Combined Voices Campaign Continues!

The story of Combined Voices

Combined Voices is the story of a small group of people coming together to express their alarm about the increasingly high rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people within Queensland’s child protection system.

It is the story of a small band of people joining together to share their grave concerns about the poor outcomes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people within our State continue to experience in relation to their safety, education and health.

It is the story of people joining forces to say, “We can – and must – do better!”

With the formal launch of Combined Voices in August 2009, the small voice of a few people became much larger.  The collective voice of peak bodies – Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Human Services Coalition (QATSIHC), Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS), Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP), CREATE Foundation and PeakCare Queensland – was added to by organisations that formally listed themselves as Supporters of Combined Voices.

Keeping our combined voices strong and resonant!

Now two years on since the formal launch of Combined Voices, the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people within Queensland’s child protection system is continuing.  The poor outcomes being experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in relation to their safety, education and health is continuing.

For as long as these matters continue, so too must Combined Voices.

As a collective and combined voice, we must continue to express our concerns and commit to finding the answers.  If our collective voice is to continue being heard, it must be strong and resonant.

How strong and resonant our voice will be depends on you!

Still sorry!

On 26th May 2011, a post, Are We Truly Sorry,  was entered into PeakCare’s Practice Blogs about National Sorry Day.  Sparked off by racist taunts that appeared on You Tube about a widely acclaimed recording artist and performer – a Torres Strait Islander woman – PeakCare called for our member agencies and others to stand with us in saying that we are sorry and continue to be sorry for the injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the past and that they continue to endure today, as evidenced by the racist diatribes directed towards this famous iconic performer.

What followed was unprecedented!   A massive increase in the numbers of people entering comments in reply to our post – people who were prepared to add their voices to our concerns.  These people included representatives of other peak bodies, academics, private consultants, the chief executive offices, managers and staff of non-government organisations, child protection practitioners as well as individuals expressing their personal views.

Amongst the responses that were posted, comments were made about the need to “truly listen” and being prepared to ask the “real questions” before we can hope to find the answers.

Asking the “real questions” and “truly listening”!

On 9th August 2011, a double-session Combined Voices workshop will be held in conjunction with the 2011 QCOSS Conference.

This is an opportunity for people from across organisations to come together to:

  • update our knowledge of the current over-representation data
  • be informed about the “Together Keeping Our Children Safe and Well” Plan – the five-year comprehensive plan developed for promoting the safety and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and reducing their over-representation within Queensland’s child protection system, and
  • be inspired by the work that has occurred in Queensland and overseas.

Very importantly, it is about you attending the workshop as an active and visible commitment to:

  • working together at State, regional and local levels in making a difference
  • supporting the peak bodies and others in promoting and maintaining the Combined Voices initiative, and
  • exercising your organisation’s own responsibilities in “asking the real questions” and “truly listening”.

For details of the Combined Voices workshop and a copy of the registration form, you can click HERE!

Lindsay Wegener – PeakCare Executive Director

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