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Taking action to protect Australia's children

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The final instalment of a national framework which aims to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Australia's children and deliver a substantial reduction in levels of child abuse and neglect over time, has been released. 

The Fourth Action Plan 2018-2020 of the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 was officially launched by Federal Assistant Minister for Children and Families, the Hon Michelle Landry MP in Darwin on 30 Jan 2019. 

The plan highlights four key priorities, including:

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

Department for Child Protection Chief Executive Cathy Taylor said she was looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with her state and territory counterparts and to provide leadership for South Australian initiatives under the Fourth Action Plan. 

"This National Framework reiterates that protecting children is everyone's business," Ms Taylor said. 

"It ensures that Commonwealth, state and territory governments, non-government organisations, service providers and individuals have a strong focus on and take responsibility for ensuring Australia's children are safe and well. 

"South Australia will support the national effort through focused strategic actions to improve permanency and stability for children in out of home care."

Ms Taylor said measures and initiatives to reform the state's child protection and child wellbeing systems in sync with the national vision were already underway.

"South Australia's child protection system is undergoing significant reform as a result of the findings of the Nyland Royal Commission and supported by the new child safety legislation," she said. 

"Key areas of focus include supporting stability and permanency in placement, timely decision making, better support and rights for carers, and increasing transparency and participation in decision making."

Some of these reforms include:

  • better efforts to place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with family members earlier through a new Family Scoping Unit, avoiding the use of residential and commercial care
  • increased support and training opportunities for staff to help them deal with the many complex cases they encounter
  • improving the rights and experiences of kinship and foster carers, with supports to help them interact with government agencies, ensure their voices are better heard in court, and to support their day-to-day decision making
  • ensuring families are involved in early decision making through Family Group Conferencing, enshrined in the new child protection laws. 

Read the full Fourth Action Plan (PDF 5MB).

Visit the Department of Social Services website for additional information.