Prioritising every child’s safety this National Child Protection Week
National Child Protection Week (September 5-11) has launched for 2021, with a theme of ‘every child, in every community, needs a fair go’.
The annual campaign is coordinated by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) and champions the protection of all Australian children regardless of circumstance or background.
The McGowan Government is committed to supporting better outcomes for children living in out-of-home care arrangements and continues to prioritise initiatives supporting those aims.
In the past year, WA has recorded its first reduction in the number of children in care since 1997. This has been linked to the McGowan Government’s increased investment in early intervention service models in recent years.
An additional $10.3 million was committed in May this year to fund a two-year extension of the Aboriginal In-Home Support Service operating under the broader Earlier Intervention and Family Support (EIFS) strategy.
EIFS provides the framework for a coordinated response between the Department of Communities, the community services sector and other State Government agencies to support families at risk of child protection intervention.
The State Government is also trialling Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making (AFLDM) in Mirrabooka and the Mid West-Gascoyne region, with a pilot program currently being rolled out in those sites.
Importantly, these initiatives are being led by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and boost capacity for First Nations people to have greater say in the decisions that affect their children, families and communities.
To mark National Child Protection Week, the Department of Communities is helping to support a range of local community events led by district offices across Western Australia.
Activities planned for this week range from sausage sizzles to community fun days. Examples of events to be held this week include Esperance primary schools taking part in a NAPCAN art project and the West Kimberley region hosting a Hands on Country – Fishing Trip on Karajarri country that will be linked to a number of community activities.
Department of Communities district offices have also been provided with cameras for a child living in a foster care arrangement within their district, inviting them to reflect on and document the people, places and things that help them to thrive and be safe during National Child Protection Week.
A selection of the photos taken will be printed and displayed in district offices to celebrate and share the insights and experiences of children living in care.
More information on National Child Protection Week can be found on the NAPCAN website.
“National Child Protection Week is about putting the best interests of children and young people at the forefront of the public’s attention.
“It’s imperative that every child has access to what they need to lead safe and healthy lives, free from the threats of violence, neglect and abuse.
“The State Government continues to prioritise early intervention supports, and invest in programs that respond to the issues that cause family breakdown before the need for child removal arises.
“To ensure the wellbeing and safety of every child, we need everyone to play a part in their community all year round.
“I look forward to attending a National Child Protection Week function in my own electorate this week. The opportunity to listen and learn from people working on the front line of child protection and who have had a care experience is one of the great privileges of my role as Minister.” said Minister of Child Protection Simone McGurk.