The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 to 2020 is a three-way agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and an extensive national coalition of community sector organisations known as the National Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia's Children, who are working together to implement a comprehensive national approach to protecting Australia's children.

The National Framework was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in April 2009. It is a long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children which uses a public health approach in the protection of Australia's children.

The Framework's underpinning aim is to achieve a substantial and sustained reduction in child abuse and neglect over time.

Key National Framework outcomes

The National Framework consists of high level outcomes, strategies and actions to be delivered through a series of three year action plans and indicators of change that can be used to monitor progress.

The high level outcome: Australia's children and young people are safe and well.

The six supporting outcomes are:

  1. Children live in safe and supportive families and communities.
  2. Children and families access adequate support to promote safety and intervene early.
  3. Risk factors for child abuse and neglect are addressed.
  4. Children who have been abused or neglected receive the support and care they need for their safety and wellbeing.
  5. Indigenous children are supported and safe in their families and communities.
  6. Child sexual abuse and exploitation is prevented and survivors receive adequate support.

The Fourth Action Plan 2018 to 2020

The fourth action plan of the National Framework has a key focus on supporting families, communities and organisations to keep children safe.

There are four key priority areas under this action plan:

  • Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at risk of entering, or in contact with, the child protection system.
  • Improving prevention and early intervention through joint service planning and investment.
  • Improving outcomes for children in out-of-home care by enhancing placement stability through reunification and other permanent care options.
  • Improving organisations' and governments' ability to keep children and young people safe from abuse.

The fourth and final action plan under the current National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children agreement will continue to build the foundations and evidence base to enable improved safety and wellbeing outcomes for Australia's children and young people beyond 2020.

The third action plan (2015 to 2018) of the national framework, ‘Driving Change: Intervening Early’, had a strong focus on prevention and early intervention, and aims to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for children and young people.

The plan was publicly released on 9 December 2015.

The key strategy areas of the third action plan were:

  • Early intervention with a focus on the early years, particularly the first 1000 days for a child.
  • Helping young people in out-of-home care to thrive into adulthood.
  • Organisations responding better to children and young people to keep them safe.

The second action plan (2012 to 2015) of the national framework was endorsed by Community and Disability Services ministers in 2012.

The second action plan priorities included:

  • embedding the achievements from the first action plan
  • building on and strengthening the delivery of priorities from the first action plan
  • exploring new priorities and opportunities for joint work in new areas including domestic violence and disability.

The first three-year action plan (2009 to 2012) included 12 national priorities to focus action by the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the non-government sector.

Achievements of the first action plan

Key achievements of the first action plan included the development and implementation of:

  • national standards for out-of-home care
  • transitioning from out-of-home care to independence: a nationally consistent approach to planning, a practical resource outlining best practice in leaving-care planning
  • working with children checks
  • an information sharing protocol between state and territory child protection agencies and Medicare Australia, Child Support Agency and Centrelink
  • a national research agenda to identify research priorities and opportunities to inform future policy and service delivery
  • an online resource to improve carers access to information about services and payments available to them.

The first action plan also established the first National Children’s Commissioner.


Strategy and Performance


Related links

National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009 to 2020 - Department for Social Services