My name is Denise Crisp.
My involvement within the child protection system spans more than 25 years. I’d retired from a Government position, my 2 adult children had “left the nest” and my three bedroom home had two empty bedrooms. A newspaper advertisement for Foster Carers caught my attention in 1993 and I’m still a foster carer to date. Now based in Sydney NSW Australia I am a strong advocate for societies most vulnerable, precious children, their best interests should always remain paramount.
Over the years in NSW I have seen many changes in the system, which include although are not limited to, the privatisation of OOHC management to Non Government Agencies after Justice Woods enquiry in 2008 found DoCS (now FaCS) were not able to encompass both child protection and case management roles as the numbers of children needing protection increased.
I was a founding Board member of the Foster Parents Support Network (FPSN) and a President of the Foster Care Association (NSW) Inc. I have and continue to lobby Ministers, Premiers and Prime Ministers regarding the management of child protection and worked tirelessly to encourage change in a system that clearly had entrenched cultures that were archaic and continued to inflict “systems abuse” on those who were removed and placed in care by the State. I will continue to advocate for the children in our care system and offer advice and support. Much of what I have learned extends to the Childrens Court, Tribunals here in NSW as well as other Government bodies involved in the child protection system.
I have been a strong advocate for children in care as well as their carers. My advocacy has achieved positive out comes for many children and their carers over the years. For example the Care Allowance was never adjusted in line with the CPI every year. After lobbying the Minister and Department at the time, I’m pleased to say the Minister agreed with me and all carers now receive the CPI increase every year. Some NGO’s weren’t following suit, again I lobbied and all NGO’s now increase the Care Allowance in line with the annual CPI.
Currently I am lobbying the Department to increase the age of leaving care from 18yo to 21yo as was recently done in Tasmania. If successful this will make a huge difference for children currently in OOHC and their carers.
As a support person I have attended many Case Conferences with carers both Departmental and Non Government, I have supported and attended many Court Cases/Hearings, Tribunals and DRGs.
I have supported Foster carers and Kinship carers in the preparation of affidavits, Court/Tribunal applications, supervised family visits and worked with agencies who are involved with parent/s going through restoration programs.
I have made training videos for the Department, been involved with training for departmental caseworkers, supported and participated in departmental recruitment drives for prosective carers.
I have been a guest speaker many times at Council Chambers who provide a monthly venue for Grand Parent carers.
I was a carer with DoCS Adoption Program for several years and supported biological parent/s who had relinquished their child for Adoption, Departmental policy was to support birth parents for a specific time frame prior to signing the Final Adoption papers. With my support and wrap around services some of those babies remained with their birth parent/s due to those supports. Other babies whose parent/s could not for whatever reason commit to parenthood were adopted by prospective families who had been assessed for those babies.
In the early days like many carers I did of all types of care, Shared Care, Emergency Care, Respite Care, Short Term Care, Pre Adoption Care and OOHC, at the time that was the “norm”.
Feel free to read through my website and contact me for further information.