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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 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 2009 - 2020 consists of high level and supporting 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 the progress of the National Framework. 

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 National Framework fourth action plan, which will be the final three-year action plan under the agreement, will be developed in 2018. 

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.


Strategy and Performance

Email: DCPIGR [at] sa.gov.au