Keeping South Australian children and vulnerable families safe and well is the primary focus of a new whole-of-government child protection strategy.

The State Government has released Safe and well: Supporting families, protecting children – a new strategy which aims to better support vulnerable families, protect children and invest in their futures.

Safe and well spans portfolio’s including health, education, housing, human services and child protection, with the shared goal of keeping vulnerable children and families safe and well, as well as giving them support and opportunities for a brighter future.

The new strategy outlines an extensive whole-of-government effort in three focus areas:

  • Supporting: providing earlier, intensive, targeted support to families with multiple and complex needs, to reduce incidents of child abuse and neglect and prevent children entering the child protection system.
  • Protecting: protecting children from experiencing any further harm when they come into care, including delivering trauma-responsive services to meet the individual needs of children and young people.
  • Investing: investing in children and young people in care and their transition from care to support them to lead productive lives as adults and help break intergenerational contact with the child protection system.

Importantly, the new Safe and well strategy commits the State Government to shifting the way it works with Aboriginal families, communities and children to reduce overrepresentation in all parts of the system and provide culturally safe services.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said many government departments had key roles to deliver actions under the new strategy.

“The State Government is committed to delivering high quality services to keep vulnerable children and families safe and well and our aim will span from targeted early intervention to better supports for young people leaving care,” said Minister Sanderson.

“We know that many South Australian families are facing multiple and complex challenges such as domestic and family violence, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health concerns, and this requires an early, coordinated and cross government effort.

“Continuing to work together will be essential in delivering the actions outlined in this strategy and ensuring government agencies and service providers are collaborating to prevent families escalating through the child protection system.”

Minister Sanderson said the strategy outlined the collective efforts already underway across government to reform the child protection system, bringing together more than 500 recommendations from the Federal and State Royal Commissions.

"Findings of both the Nyland Royal Commission and the Commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse stressed the need for a system that is better equipped to support vulnerable families and protect children and young people from harm," said Minister Sanderson.

"To deliver smarter reform that truly improves outcomes for children and young people it is no longer useful to consider these recommendations in isolation.

“We are committed to honouring each of these recommendations within a more holistic approach to reform.

“This approach takes a contemporary view of child protection as a whole-of-government system with collective responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people."

The State Government has already committed additional funding to early intervention and prevention. This includes $3 million towards an intensive pilot program run by Anglicare, which aims to keep families in the Northern suburbs together if safe to do so.

An additional $2.2 million has been committed towards a pilot program in Adelaide's west, which will focus on Aboriginal intensive family support.