Great article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Anne Hollonds who is the chief executive of the Benevolent Society.
Last week I found myself reading the harrowing account of a day in the life of a Family and Community Services caseworker in the Herald. I only made it to ”10am” before I had to stop. The memories of my time as a front-line child protection worker came flooding back.
I did that job for four years in the 1980s – and then moved on to work as a child and family counsellor in community health and in non-government organisations, and eventually in the management of these services.
Those early years spent in frontline child protection have left their mark, and I am passionate about promoting the well-being of children and families, especially those most vulnerable because of disadvantage.
Everyone agrees that more needs to be done to protect children at risk of serious harm, but so far in the recent debate in NSW no one has asked: Why are there 60,000 children in our community whose lives are so dangerous at home that they need child protection services to monitor them?
National Child Protection Week highlights ongoing national tragedy
On the eve of National Child Protection Week (1-7 September), Families Australia has called for vastly more effort to make protecting children everyone’s business.
Applauding NAPCAN’s outstanding leadership in running National Child Protection Week for over 20 years, Families Australia’s CEO and Convenor of the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children, Brian Babington, said ‘child abuse and neglect continues to be one of the nation’s most serious problems.’
Nationally, over the 12 months to June 2012, the number of children who were the subject of abuse or neglect substantiations increased from 31,527 to 37,781.
‘The over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the child protection system remains particularly serious. In 2011–12, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were almost eight times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect as non-Indigenous children.’
The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children is a major advance. Yet, greater effort by all parties—governments, the NGO sector and the community at large—is needed to achieve a substantial reduction in rates of abuse and neglect.
More is needed to tackle the underlying causes of child abuse and neglect, particularly in responding early to the needs of families and children who are experiencing vulnerability.
In its 2013 Federal election proposals, Families Australia calls on all Australian political parties to prioritise the needs of families and individuals experiencing vulnerability and marginalisation.
Families Australia CEO Brian Babington today said that many Australian families continue to struggle. In this election campaign, we urge politicians to give special attention to helping families who face multiple and complex problems, such as substance abuse, mental illness and family violence.
Read the full policy proposal document here.
See Families Australia’s press release here.
The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, believes that children and young people are experts in their own lives and so, before she can work out what needs to be done, she needs to ask the experts!
As Commissioner, it is important for Megan to listen to and to speak with children and young people, and the adults who work with and for them, about the rights of children and young people in Australia. The Big Banter is her way of making this happen across Australia.
She will be asking children and young people directly what they think her priorities as Commissioner should be. She’ll also be getting their advice on what they think is the best way of making sure that she continues to hear from children and young people on a regular basis.
Megan met with the NAPCAN staff and many other Peak Bodies and organisations that work with children and young people. Photographed, from L to R: Nancy Jeffrey (NT Manager Save The Children), Ellen Poyner (Senior Project Officer/Trainer NAPCAN), Megan Mitchell (National Children’s Commissioner), Trista Cocker (Senior Project Officer/Trainer NAPCAN), Jane Wilson (Operations Manaer SAF,T), Amanda Markwell (Development Officer, SAF,T), Christine Gardiner (our young Roving Reporter), Lesley Taylor (Manager NT NAPCAN), and Sandy Hyde (friend of NAPCAN).
The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) works towards the prevention and treatment of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation globally. Registration and abstract submission are now open for several international conferences.
13th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ISPCAN is delighted to sponsor ACCAN 2013, which will take place 10-13 November in Melbourne, Australia. The theme of Protecting children: New solutions to old problems reflects the need to innovate and to enhance responses to key policy and practice issues across the sectors involved in preventing and managing child abuse and neglect. Registration now open.
Registration and abstract submission are now open for the 8th ISPCAN Latin American International Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. The event will take place on October 6-9 in Vina del Mar, Chile, with a focus on building a world without violence for children and teenagers.
You can also now register to attend the 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. The event will take place on 15-18 September in Dublin, Ireland.
To find out more about any of the above events, click here
NAICD is coming up on 4 August 2013. This year NAICD is all about standing up for child rights. It’s about creating a space for people to come together and discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s rights – Right Here Right Now: Our Rights Matter! It is also a day of celebration and pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
SNAICC has produced a beautiful animated 30 second Television Advertisement. The ad is screening far and wide around Australia from free-to-air television to subscription television. Click here to view the ad.
Don’t forget to organise your event or celebration on 4 August. To order your NAICD resources click here.
From everyone at NAPCAN
We thank you for playing your part this year and hope you enjoy the festive season, with a safe and happy start to the new year!
Over the holiday season we encourage you to reach out and connect with the children and young people in your community.
“Be someone who listens to children”
We look forward to sharing our work with you in 2014, our offices will reopen on 6 January.
Richard Cooke and the NAPCAN Team