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A strong economy and increasing house prices, resulting in continued growth in Victorian Government revenues, has underpinned significant additional budget funding on responding to family violence, transport infrastructure and police numbers. This complements initiatives over the past year in housing access, and child and family support.

The 2018 pre-election budget will be the next major opportunity to redress a missed opportunity to invest more thoroughly in addressing entrenched need and disadvantage.

Competition and efficiently working markets have their role to play, but collaboration not competition, mission not markets should be the drivers of social service delivery in the 21st century, according to a recent article by Denis Fitzgerald from Catholic Social Services Victoria.  Related to this, faith-based bodies can only achieve their potential in service and advocacy and be true to their prophetic calling if they also develop and advance a new vision of a society that would be informed by the needs of all.

Our submission on infrastructure planning for Victoria highlighted affordable housing and justice reinvestment – addressing causes of crime rather than just responding after the fact – as two priority elements of an effective strategy. 
Some human services have been subject to competitive tendering, and that experience has been very mixed.  Governments have also developed market structures that provide for user choice in, for example, disability services.  But the goal in human services is human flourishing, which has an individual and a communal dimension.  Lessons need to be learned from experience, and competition should only be fostered after careful consideration of each case.
 
At the Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program Forum on April 16 in his Keynote speech Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv DD, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, called for Australia to reclaim its welcoming and generous spirit towards people seeking asylum. He reminded us that Christians have a 'mandate to care' for people in need. We a need a broader base of support for people seeking asylum to put an end to the 'globalised indifference' referred to by Pope Francis. We need to look to refugees not with fear, but with respect.
The attached paper, by Michael Yore, explores whether Catholic social welfare services bring an enriched quality of services and advocacy to their work. It includes discussion questions, making it useful in for orientation program in a Catholic agency.
Many of our general community standards of care for older people are not often applied to those in prison.  These include community inclusion, loving care, close contact with family, appropriate physical and social conditions, health care, and respect for the dignity of each person.

Which of these standards should we relax for people in prison?  Which of these can be done away with without undermining the minimum acceptable levels of respect for the human dignity of an older person?  Which of them would we want set aside if an elderly family member were to be incarcerated?

We need to have the conversation.

In a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into abuse in disability services, Catholic Social Services Victoria argues for a single, robust and independent body to oversee complaints.

Great news that Australia is to take 12,000 more refugees, plus provide additional assistance to those in need in the Middle East. 

As the Bishops' Social Justice Statement highlights, it's now also time for justice for all asylum seekers in Australia.
 
The response across the Church and community has been very positive.  Archbishop Denis Hart has called for a renewed commitment of ‘prayer, discernment and work’ at parish level and beyond, and pointed out that many Melbourne parishes are already reaching out in support, care and assistance to asylum seekers in our community.  He encourages a response ‘as Christ would want, to those in need.’ 
 

National Child Protection Week invites all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
 
Click here for a reflection from Catholic Social Services Victoria on the challenge posed by recent reports about vulnerable children, including As a good parent would from the Child Safety Commission. 

Among other things, 'a whole of society response is needed. We are all called to take responsibility for our own behaviour, but also to play our part in changing the general culture through our impact on those around us.'
 

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Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work.
 
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