The Poetry of Solli Raphael

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Solli Raphael is a 14-year-old Australian poet and budding humanitarian. He uses poetry to explore themes important to him, focusing in particular on the environment, inequality, and how we can be better agents for change within our communities.

Solli has performed in many places around Australia, including for TEDx and in collaboration with Greenpeace Australia. He regularly visits schools and has appeared on national media including The Project (Channel 10) and radio national. In 2017 he was the youngest winner of the National Australian Slam Poetry Finals at the Sydney Opera House, aged 12. Limelight, his first book, was published by Penguin Random House in Australia last year.

Solli is an inspiring example of how children can engender hope and change the conversation about important issues facing society. He shows that age is no barrier to activism, to poetic expression and to speaking about global community issues.

Solli recites his poem ‘We Can Be More’ in the video below.

Trust and Governance: 5 Insights from Psychology

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The idea of trust in relationships is a key theme in our work on reimagining child protection, and a central part of many ideas put forward here about how child protection could be conducted differently.

Trust is important insofar as it exists within communities, between communities and the workers supporting them, in the interactions between individuals and networks, in interactions with institutions and organisations, and between those organisations themselves.

In a recent post for the social policy blog The Power to Persuade, Valerie Braithwaite set out five insights that the field of psychology can teach us about trust and governance. They are helpful in trying to understand the relationship between citizens and institutions, a dynamic that comes up often in the child protection context. Valerie says:

  1. People differ in their capacity to trust. Trust is socially adaptive, and we develop it from an early age. We learn trust through knowing our carers will look after us. This is reflected in good parenting, which means being consistent in providing care and being responsive to a baby’s needs.

  2. All trust ripples out from trust in family. Trust in family leads to trust in friends, then to workplaces, neighbourhoods, local authorities, and more distant government institutions (see the work of Jenny Job and Monika Reinhart at ANU). For this reason, every government should be concerned about the coherence and effectiveness of its family policy.

  3. Trust can be blocked and meet resistance. There can be push back by organisations or institutions through organisations’ breach of trust norms. Trust norms are clustered around two themes: firstly, being reliable and responsible, that is, doing what you say you will do; secondly, having empathy for others, sharing the concerns of others, and showing generosity of spirit. This is the same between individuals, or between individuals and organisations.

  4. Organisations and institutions can breach trust norms like individuals. As a result they attract distrust—at least for a time.

  5. Breaches of trust do not cause systems to collapse. But persistently ignoring the signs that trust has been breached does. There are different types of defiance of trust norms.

These insights are a helpful way to think about how organisations behave. They shed light on how trust operates in our relationship with those institutions, as well as in associated community life.

Read the more detailed post on The Power to Persuade.

Parents and Family Members Matter: A Charter of Rights and Responsibilities

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In 2014, Sharynne Hamilton and Valerie Braithwaite authored a charter for parents and family members with children in the care of child protection services in Australia. This is a guiding document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of parents and family members for when they are dealing with child protection services.

Charters of rights and responsibilities exist within many other areas where livelihoods are regulated by public administration, including health, tax, and transport. Here, a charter is a useful way of thinking about how parents and family members can have relationships with child protection services which are fair and balanced, and which consider the rights of everyone involved in the process.

This charter was developed in response to research of how child protection interventions are carried out in Australia. In some situations, parents are exposed to unfair, non-transparent and unsupported processes where they are given inadequate information, not treated respectfully, not empowered but marginalised and stigmatised. This creates harm in communities and erodes trust in the child protection system. Interviews conducted by Sharynne and Valerie show the unhelpfulness of child protection interventions that traumatise families and use threatening tactics, particularly when family members are already likely to face stress and pressure in other areas of life.

The charter clearly sets out the rights of parents and family members going through the child protection process, but also their responsibilities. It is premised on developing relationships of mutual respect, open and honest communication, and making sure that there is clear information being transferred at all stages of the process. Parents and family members need to know their rights, and what support is available to them.

Find out more about the charter in the ‘publications’ section of this site.

Access the charter here.

You can also read a blog post on the charter by co-author Sharynne Hamilton on The Power to Persuade blog.