Resources for Schools & Early Childhood Service Providers

 

HELPING EDUCATORS THROUGH THE

FAMILY LAW MAZE

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( Read the project evaluation report: Eval report South Coast FLPN UOW schools project )

In 2013 South Coast FLPN undertook a special joint project with the University of Wollongong (UOW) Law Faculty and the Department of Education and Communities (DeC), to provide family law training to public schools on the South Coast. This project was fully funded by the UOW Community Engagement Scheme. Working closely with the NSW DeC Legal Services and regional DeC office, we undertook preliminary research into the types of issues faced by schools regarding family separation. Based on this, we designed the content for a series of three live webinars to public schools in the region. Family Law for public schools – webinar series The webinars explore the most commonly arising challenges such as: changeover of care, care arrangements, fees, notes and correspondence, parental permission etc. They also explain and demonstrate the difference between Parenting orders and other legal orders and how they differ from Parenting agreements. Importantly, they clarify legal responsibility for school staff and professional boundaries, and provide three practical accompanying  resources for schools such as:

 A newly designed, simple Agreed Education Arrangements form which was designed and implemented by Nowra Family Relationship Centre (FRC), this form can be used as a stand-alone agreement by parents who reach their own agreements on common school issues before they arise and filed for school reference. Ideally, handed with enrolment packs and where parents advise of separation.

  • Where parents can’t agree, the FRC is happy to mediate, even where no other matters are involved and at any time (i.e. years after divorcing).
  • This is an agreement and as such is only valid if both parents sign. It is not a legal document.
  •  The Family Law at a glance is a flowchart referred to in the webinars to assist staff to determine next steps when faced with those legal situations identified in the research as most confusing. The one page document was designed to supplement the DeC Family Law Guidelines ( 2007 ). It contains prompts and references to the guidelines which underpin the webinars and is endorsed by the NSW DeC.
  •  The Post Separation Services Directory is a special referral directory developed for schools and early childhood services on the South Coast of NSW. The programs and services listed include those of most relevance only, it is not intended as a comprehensive listing of general services.

The webinars explain the service types in more detail. For example, where we discuss problems around parents using schools to visit children during school hours or pick-up disputes at the gate, we explain the availability of programs such as ‘Contact’ and ‘Changeover’ services which are specifically funded for this purpose. Many of these programs are relatively new and not well known outside the family law sector and fill some of the gaps that parents sometimes try to inappropriately use schools for. The directory is a direct referral tool between schools and these programs at a local level. Some of these vital programs in outreach areas are struggling for referrals and welcome enquiries from schools.

An Early Childhood Providers Resource Kit has been adapted for centre based providers of children aged 0 – 5 to supplement our face to face training and the webinars. A copy of the three documents can be downloaded here:

 

Agreed Education Arrangements v1

Family law at a glance – Early Childhood Centres

Referral Directory for Early Childhood Providers (available upon request)

 

 

 

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