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National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009 to 2020

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 to 2020 is a long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children and reducing child abuse and neglect over time.

It includes outcomes and actions to be delivered through a series of three-year action plans.

Outcomes of the framework

The national framework includes 6 supporting outcomes and outlines how each of these will be achieved:

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

South Australia’s involvement

South Australia has been involved in the development and implementation of the national framework and each of the three-year action plans.

South Australia also convenes a partnerships group that meets on a bi-monthly basis and provides a forum for the Department for Child Protection, non-government representatives and leading stakeholders to work together in planning and implementing the national framework action plans.

Non-government organisations wishing to contribute their views via the partnerships group are encouraged to contact their respective peak body.

The third action plan 2015 to 2018

The third, three-year action plan (2015 to 2018) of the national framework, ‘Driving Change: Intervening Early’, has 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 are as follows

  • 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

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

 The second action plan priorities fell into the following groups.

Embed national priorities from the first action plan

The second action plan continued to embed achievements from the first action plan including:

  • building workforce capacity and expertise
  • improving the evidence base
  • exploring the expansion of information sharing protocols between child protection agencies and Commonwealth agencies.

Deliver on national priorities

The second action plan built on and strengthened the delivery of six significant national priorities from the first action plan including:

  • Closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  • National standards for out-of-home care
  • joining up service delivery
  • responding to sexual abuse.

Explore new priorities for the second action plan

The second action plan explored opportunities for joint work in new areas including:

  • domestic and family violence
  • sector development
  • disability
  • health and mental health.

The first action plan 2009 to 2012

The first three-year action plan (2009 to 12) 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.


Strategic Care and Protection Policy unit

Telephone: 8463 6468
Email: decdchildsafe [at] sa.gov.au