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National Council for Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC) Conference, Melbourne 2011

Single Mum Event Report | 18 November, 2011

The National Council for Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC) held their annual NCSMC Conference on 18 November 2011 at the St Michaels on Collins Conference Centre in Melbourne.

The location for this year's conference was much to the delight of local Victorian single mums. Others, including some of our mums, ventured from as far away as South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Opened by Chair NCSMC's Lis Burtnik, an excellent and highly-relevant line up of speakers attended the event. All gave inspired presentations, and there was plenty of opportunity for mums to get involved with proceedings, with several very active question times taking place at the end of each session.

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There were many topics covered during the conference, including Income Support and Income Management, Family Law, and also Child Support which proved to be one of the most controversial topics of the day. Many of the attending mums were eager to relate their experiences with the CSA, including their dissatisfaction with current Child Support arrangements and assessment processes.

A stirring speech from Senator Rachael Siewart was very well received, who then stayed on to present the prestigious inaugural Ambassadors and Advocates against Violence award to deserving recipients Dr Elspeth McInnes & Marie Hume - a highlight of the conference which met with enthusiastic approval from the audience.

A session focusing on Forced Adoption was presented by Kathryn Rendell, and moved many mums to tears with the sad stories and still-raw pain of mothers and children forced apart not so long ago.

With excellent child care laid-on to ensure that all could attend, a re-energising lunch to chat to other single mums over, and wonderful attention to detail (right down to the welcoming feminine touch of beautifully beaded name tag necklaces!), the NCSM, represented by CEO Terese Edwards, and the Council of Single Mothers and their Children Victorian branch (CSMC), headed up by Jane Stanley and Kerrie Davies, did a magnificent job in hosting the event. Their hard work ensured that the day was a great success all-around.

Single Mum Australia

Photos from top:

Senator Rachael Siewart (left) with recipients of the Ambassadors and Advocates against Violence award - (from left) Marie Hume, Dr Elspeth McInnes
Dr Elspeth McInnes, Senior Lecturer, University of South Australia
(From left) CSMC Project Worker Kerry Davies, Senator Rachael Siewart, NCSMC CEO Terese Edwards
CSMC EO Jane Stanley

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.