On 30 April 2009, the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020, an ambitious and long-term agenda to improve the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children.

The First Action Plan 2009–2012 laid a firm foundation for the National Framework by building the evidence base for future actions to protect children and families at-risk. Over the life of the Plan, we made significant achievements across a large number of priority projects, including the establishment of the first National Children’s Commissioner and the development of National Standards for out-of-home care. These achievements would not have been possible without strong collaborative work between governments at all levels and the non-government sector.

The Second Action Plan 2012–2015 was developed through close collaboration between the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, and the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children. This approach reflects the National Framework’s key message that ‘protecting children is everyone’s business’ and has been a critical element of the success achieved under the National Framework to date.

The critical focus of the Second Action Plan is ‘working together’ across governments and non-government sectors to improve the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children. This will be achieved by strengthening families, early intervention, prevention and collaboration through joining up service delivery with mental health, domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol, education, health and other services. This work will be progressed within the child protection system as well as across other sectors, including those that are not traditionally thought of as child centred.

The Second Action Plan will also emphasise the development of local partnerships for local solutions, recognizing that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work across Australia’s diverse communities and that Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse families and communities need strategies that are sensitive to their needs and circumstances.

Some of the actions outlined in the priorities will require commitment by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and the non-government sector. Others will require action by the Commonwealth or by individual State and Territory governments. As a result of local priorities and reforms occurring in the child protection and broader service systems not all actions will be progressed by jurisdictions in the same way and at the same time.

Building on the strong partnerships and achievements of the First Action Plan, we are confident that the Second Action Plan will significantly advance us towards our goal of ensuring that Australia’s children grow up safe and well.

Download the Second Action Plan here.

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?

Child Protection Week next week offers us the opportunity to face up to an uncomfortable reality: that we have created a system that relies on sending more and more ambulances to the bottom of the cliff, instead of building a fence at the top of the cliff to keep kids safe. The truth is that there will never be ”enough” child protection workers if we expect them to do all the heavy lifting and we wait until the damage is done before anyone acts.

Read full article in Sydney Morning Herald

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.

Download PDF: Families Australia National Child Protection Week 30 August 2013

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).

You can follow The Big Banter and the tour around Australia on Twitter @MeganM4Kids and Facebook.

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.

International Events 

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.

Warm regards

Richard Cooke and the NAPCAN Team