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More than 50 signatories have joined together in an open letter to Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula, Minister for Families and Children and Youth Affairs, Jenny Mikakos, and Minister for Police, Lisa Neville expressing deep concerns about some changes proposed in the Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform Bill) and the Justice Legislation Amendment (Protective Service Officers and Other Matters) Bill, both tabled in Parliament on 24th May 2017.
Soon after the letter was lodged, delegates from Jesuit Social Services’ Executive team and Board embarked on an international research trip to explore innovative and sustainable solutions to youth and adult justice issues. Taking place throughout June 2017, the Justice Solutions tour will investigate justice policy, systems, facilities and advocacy in the UK, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United States.
Following the release of the Victorian bishop’s statement condemning family and domestic violence earlier this year, and the distribution of the resource kit to parishes, Catholic Social Services Victoria is continuing its work in providing ongoing support for parishes and providing opportunities for clergy, pastoral staff, and parishioners to increase their skills in responding well to people experiencing family violence. We are in the process of developing a training package tailored specifically to people and organisations within the Catholic community.

Peter Hudson was part of the team which facilitated the Managers’ training day at St John of God ACCORD North Greensborough on Wednesday 31 May 2017.

This was the first opportunity that managers from the recently merged Marillac  joined their colleagues at St John of God for a day of reflection and dialogue around the vision and mission as seen through four core lenses of Catholic Social Teaching: Human Dignity, Common Good, Subsidiarity and Solidarity.

Annual budgets, and their lead up, are an opportunity for genuine dialogue between government and concerned stakeholders across a range of sectors. Communities engaging with governments can really help in setting budget priorities which hopefully help all in society to flourish. It is in this spirit that a range of Catholic social service personnel gathered yesterday to listen to Parliamentary Treasury Secretary, Daniel Mulino MP, share his insights into the 2017 State Budget.
The spirit of generosity, service and collaboration was truly alive as more than 60 people from across the northern suburbs, and beyond, gathered at St Francis Xavier Parish in Montmorency for the ‘Parishes as Centres of Service Expo’ on Saturday 6 May.
Hosted by Catholic Social Services Victoria and St Francis Xavier Parish, the expo provided an opportunity for parish representatives, social services agencies, groups and organisations, to gather in one place to network and collaborate, share ideas and resources, and to dream and plan the way forward for their parishes and service-outreach programs among the community.
More than 17,000 people volunteer with the 50 member organisations of Catholic Social Services - a critical contribution to our work of service and work for justice. In the lead up to National Volunteer week, 8-14 May, we've released a special edition news update recognising and thanking the role of volunteers in our community.

In addition to the 17,000+ volunteers that contribute to the work of our member organisations, Catholic Social Services Victoria, as a peak body, relies on volunteers for some of our advocacy and organisational work. We would be much less productive, and less effective, without volunteer input on our committees and working groups, in organising our forums for parishes and agencies, in drafting our various advocacy papers, etc.  We are in their debt.
We currently have a vacancy for a volunteer to assist with our parish support work.
We'd like to say thank you to one of our volunteers, Adrian Foley, a grandfather of seven, and a keen farmer, photographer and explorer! Adrian has been volunteering in the community since 2014, in a variety of roles - with Catholic Prison Ministry Worship and Hospitality Team, CatholicCare Melbourne, the Horn of Africa Community Network, the Melkite Catholic Church and in criminal justice advocacy. He believes volunteering can "transform your life"!
Homelessness seems to have received more media coverage in recent months than is usually the case – it’s usually hidden from public view, as are most of the 17,000+ children in Australia under the age of 12 who don’t have a stable place to call home. It is up to all of us to respond to homelessness and help the most vulnerable in our society from becoming another statistic.
With this in mind, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria, Denis Fitzgerald, plans to participate in the 2017 Vinnies CEO sleep out, which seeks to make a difference, by raising funds for Vinnies programs, including the soup vans, and by raising awareness.
Joce Bignold, CEO of McAuley Community Services for Women, Cath Garner, Executive Director, Mission and Strategy at Cabrini Health, Sheree Limbrick, Deputy CEO at CatholicCare, were welcomed to their first meeting of the Council at Catholic Social Services Victoria on Friday 7 April. All three joined the Council at the recent Annual General Meeting. Chair of Council, Bernie Cronin (pictured), was also re-elected for a further two year term.
There are 13 members of the Council – six are elected by member organisations, six appointed by the Dioceses of Victoria and Catholic Religious Victoria, and an independent Chair.

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