Australia’s Community and Disability Services Ministers today endorsed the Second Action Plan 2012–15 of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020.
All children deserve a safe, healthy and happy childhood. The protection and safeguarding of children is our number one priority and is the responsibility of all governments.
The Second Action Plan is a significant milestone in the life of the National Framework and is the result of strong collaboration between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, and the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children.
The First Action Plan 2009–2012 established a firm foundation for the National Framework. The Australian Government provided over $60 million to improve outcomes for vulnerable children under the First Action Plan.
This investment has helped deliver significant achievements, including the establishment of the first National Children’s Commissioner position and the development of National Standards for Out-Of-Home care.
Building on the success of the First Action Plan, the Second Action Plan is focussed on close collaboration between governments, the non-government sector and the community to reduce child abuse and neglect.
Key areas of focus include building stronger partnerships with service sectors such as domestic and family violence and mental health to support vulnerable children and families, as well as continued work to improve outcomes for Indigenous children.
It emphasises the need for local partnerships to deliver local solutions, recognising that a one size fits all approach does not work across Australia’s diverse communities.
Importantly, a survey of the demographics and support needs of out-of-home carers will be undertaken to help us learn more about the carer population, and how they could be further assisted in their vital role.
The Gillard Government has invested more than $5.7 million in 2011 12 under the Child Aware Approaches initiative, as an early commitment to the Second Action Plan.
This funding will help 43 organisations across Australia to build a better understanding of the links between child abuse and neglect and domestic and family violence, mental illness and sexual abuse. The Government will also provide Families Australia with $200,000 in funding to host a Child Aware Approaches conference.
The Government is also making significant additional investments to support children’s safety and wellbeing over the three years of the National Framework’s Second Action Plan, including:
- More than $100 million to support Indigenous children, youth and community wellbeing under the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory package
- About $14 million for new Family Mental Health Support Services as part of the National Mental Health Reform package – target groups for the services include children in contact with the child protection system and young people leaving out-of-home care
- More than $165 million on participation plans for young parents and jobless families in disadvantaged locations, including a trial of income management in five locations across Australia, which will help ensure children meet their development needs, as part of the Building Australia’s Future Workforce package
- More than $29 million to enhance and extend Communities for Children services to support families under the Building Australia’s Future Workforce package. This includes services to help people with their parenting responsibilities through playgroups, parenting education classes, mentoring and support groups as well as early learning programs for children
- About $1.2 billion for the new Schoolkids Bonus to help families with children at school make ends meet, and
- $1 billion over four years for the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will launch in five sites starting from mid-2013 – with a launch in South Australia focusing on young children with disability.
We are confident the Second Action Plan will advance us towards ensuring that Australia’s children grow up safe and well.
The plan is available at www.fahcsia.gov.au