Frontier Services held the biennial conference, in Brisbane in March for their Children’s Services Staff. Children’s Services Staff comprise of Remote Area Families Service (RAFS), Remote Family Care Service (RFCS) and In Home Care Service (IHC).
Staff travelled from coordination units in Mt Isa, Mareeba, Charleville, Emerald, Longreach, as well as Hughenden and Cairns and Perth. RFCS carers came from all over, most coming directly from properties in remote and rural Queensland. They joined together for four days of fun, networking, and further education to assist them to provide the best possible care to children and families in rural and remote parts of Queensland.
RFCS Coordinator Danielle Prickett said the conference was about training staff as much as it was about providing an opportunity for them to meet and share stories.
“The first day focussed on reconnecting with Frontier Services’ mission statement and working as a team” she said.
Ms Prickett said a session using Reverse Garbage, an organisation that collects useful items that people were throwing out, was particularly fun.
“The reason we are doing this is to invigorate and inspire creativity and just to get some new ideas.
“We are on limited budgets, being not-for-profit, so we are encouraging them to reuse and recycle and think outside the square to get their craft resources rather than buying everything from the shops.”
Jennifer Haig is the Field Coordinator with Longreach Remote Area Family Service and has been with Frontier Services for four years.
She said the conference was about supporting staff and making sure they had as much knowledge as possible in everything from workplace health and safety, science and creativity, budgets and finance, child safety and much more.
“There are so many things that we learn from this,” she said.
“We are sitting down and sharing ideas, networking, developing a support system for when we go back out so that we don’t feel so isolated.
“We are also getting up to date on a lot of important issues for supporting these kids.
“We are doing a session on budgets, which is really important, but this is our opportunity to come together and to support each other.
As part of her work Ms Haig travels the wide expanse of countryside around Longreach to provide fun and education to children in isolated areas.
“We offer play groups and home visits for families in isolated and rural places. We spend the day with the families and provide a program with lots of fun activities based on children’s interests to enhance their development.”
Robyn Lanyon is a Frontier Services carer based in South East Queensland, but that doesn’t stop her from providing care for rural families.
Most of her work is done in central western Queensland including the regions around Charters Towers and Cloncurry.
“Perhaps Dad is out mustering and Mum is helping, or Mum might have a new baby and they just need a bit of help with childcare and a bit of company,” she said.
“I do that and enjoy every minute of it.
“I have been doing it for six months now and I am sad that I didn’t know about Frontier Services much earlier in my life.”
Ms Lanyon said the conference was a priceless experience.
“It is just so valuable to come together and meet with people you hear about and to share ideas, stories, difficulties, solutions.
“You really need it to keep you refreshed and focussed.
“There are challenges on the way and it is so good to be trained to handle certain situations.
Frontier Services feels the Conference was a tremendous success and that the staff have returned to the field reenergised with new skills and a stronger connection to the overall focus and work of Frontier Services.
Photo : Jennifer Haig, Anthea Bridgeford, Danielle Prickett, and Robyn Lanyon with a Reverse Garbage creation at the Frontier Services Children’s Services Conference. Photo by Osker Lau