The â€˜Council for Single Mothers & their Children' started over forty years ago (having commemorated their 40th Anniversary in 2009) and has become one of the most important resources (and supporters) for single mothers (and their children) within this country. The organization caters to the many aspects of life for the single mother; regardless of age, race, sexual preference or religion.
The â€˜Aims and Objectives' of the afore-mentioned organization were penned in 1972, and remain as pertinent today, as they did back then. According to the CSMC website, these initiatives include:
1. To ensure that any child born out of wedlock has a fair start in life.
2. To promote the understanding and acceptance of single mothers and their children in the community so that they will be free from economic, social and legal discrimination and prejudices.
3. To offer practical assistance and emotional support to single mothers during and after pregnancy, whether the child is kept by the mother or adopted, by:
(a) providing an accommodation service;
(b) distributing information services available to, and the legal rights of, single mothers;
(c) providing emergency childminding and transport services;
(d) providing emergency financial help where there is no other source.
4. To provide the opportunity for single mothers to meet and assist each other.
5. To press for better services, both for single mothers who keep their babies and for those whose babies are adopted.
6. To encourage the further education, practical competence and self reliance of single mothers.
7. To encourage the interests of fathers in the welfare of their child/ren.
8. To conduct and participate in surveys and research projects on the position of the single mother and her child in Australia.
9. To co operate with existing organisations and agencies who assist single mothers.
10. To encourage and support the formation of associate Councils in all states and the establishment of country groups both interstate and intra-state.
In addition to the social and political action, CSMC offer education/information/support to single mothers regarding the many aspects of life that they may encounter; Family Law, Domestic Violence, Child Support, Housing, Centrelink, etc. The organization's â€˜social/political' voice remains vocal and undefeated, whether campaigning for fair working conditions for single mothers or with the intention of claiming the $1.178 billion dollars (of arrears) owed to Australian children via The Child Support Agency. CSMC also offer a telephone support line, Christmas toy distribution (for those under twelve years) and their active and informative newsletter, The Scarlet Letter, which has been in publication since 1973.
Also worthy of special mention, is CSMC's â€˜Wellbeing at the Convent' Day, which is held on the first Tuesday of every month at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. This special day offers single mothers (affordable) access to a range of qualified, medical practitioners including: Aromatherapy Massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reflexology, Art Therapy, etc. Specific information regarding participating practitioners, costs and appointment times can be obtained by contacting CSMC on the afore-mentioned telephone number.
The Scarlet Letter (which is published biannually) was so named after a woman known as Hester Prynne (a fictional character, who lived in 17th century Puritan Boston) was jailed after having a child out of wedlock. According to author Nathaniel Hawthorne (who wrote his magnum opus in 1850), upon her release from prison, Hester was forced to wear the letter â€˜A' emblazoned upon her bosom, so that all would be made aware of her adultery. At the end of the story, the â€˜A' that was to have been a symbol of shame, sin and immorality; instead became a symbol fitting of Hester's true characteristics (braveness, kindness, nobleness, self-respect) and she was (eventually) forgiven by her fellow colonists for her â€˜tragic indiscretion'.
CSMC Membership is â€˜free' to single mothers, which is appreciated by many and only further confirms the organization's level of compassion. The (biannual) subscription includes notice of forums, workshops, conferences, latest research and respective publications. Members also have voting rights and are eligible for election to the CSMC Board. Some members volunteer to assist with office work, while others are content to remain informed via the mailing list. An â€˜Associate Membership' ($22- ) is available for those who are not single mothers, but support the organization's objectives. An â€˜Organizational Membership' ($55- ) is available to those organizations who support (and provide services to) the group. For those wanting to support the CSMC, donations are always (genuinely) appreciated and the organization holds â€˜Deductible Gift Recipient' (DGR) status with the Australian Taxation Office.
The Council for Single Mothers and their Children is a remarkable organization that never tires in their fight for equality and support for women and their children. The organization, unlike many, does not campaign for â€˜special' rights, just the most basic, â€˜equal' rights, which should be afforded to all women (and their children) regardless of marital status.
Approximate cost: $Varies.
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