Life members, staff, board members and dignitaries have helped celebrate a 40 year anniversary of service to the community by Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC).
The organisation started out initially providing short and long term Foster Care, but has expanded to a range of services, helping between five and six thousand families and children in need each year.
UMFC Chief Executive Officer Luke Rumbold says it’s a recognition to be proud of.
“It’s a wonderful milestone for UMFC and the connections to the community it serves is so precious,” Luke said.
Four life members were in attendance, including founder John Taylor, who’s kept a keen eye on UMFC’s growth.
“I’ve watched the whole process over this period with great humility and with great excitement,” John said.
“They’ve turned what used to be a track of people going to Melbourne for services, to having services received here and better still, introduced preventative and supportive services, so people don’t get into those more intensive type of interventions.”
Keynote speaker at the conference was Professor Dorothy Scott AM PhD (Melb), an honorary professional fellow in social work at the University of Melbourne, who has worked in the fields of child and family welfare and mental health.
Professor Scott says it’s a time to be proud, but also to plan for the future.
“It’s a wonderful milestone for Upper Murray Family Care. Its connection to the community it serves is so precious,” she said.
“There are many challenges in regional communities across Australia at the moment and they require us to think creatively and work across the traditional boundaries, not just of health, educational and social services, but to really be thinking about how we work with all of those organisations that make up the fabric of a community, such as local schools and to really rebuild communities.”
Luke Rumbold says its vital for the organisation to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the community.
“When you talk to staff and foster parents, in particular with Foster Care, the needs of children are more complex and challenging now than they used to be when I was a Foster Care case worker 35, 40 years ago,” he said.
“I think the issues we’re well aware of in society, mental health, alcohol & drug, family violence seems to be more predominant and more pervasive today.
“Those issues to be around, but they seem to be more entrenched. There may be one or two generations of families where these issues are being grappled with, and this has implications for children.”
For more on UMFC services: https://www.umfc.com.au/
UMFC is Border Cafe’s official charity partner.