In welcoming the release of the Third Action Plan under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, the question to ask is ‘will it make any difference to increasing safety for Australia’s children and young people?’

Uniting Communities’ Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel, who has been engaged with the National Framework since its adoption in 2009, said, ‘The real test for such Plans is ultimately what they deliver on the ground for children and families.

‘With now more than 100 substantiations of child abuse and neglect every day across Australia and a 20% rise in the number of South Australian children in out of home care in the past five years, we are in need of some urgent answers.

‘Despite significant increases in expenditure on services which respond to child abuse and the accommodation of children in out-of-home care, we have effectively been going backwards in keeping children safe,’ said Mr Schrapel.

The three-year Action Plan, released today by Christian Porter, the Federal Minister for Social Services, signals a need to finally shift this focus.

‘Of the three priorities highlighted in the Plan, entitled “Driving Change: Intervening Early”, is a commitment to develop a better system of support for families with children in their first 1000 days. This signals the value of getting more done to help parents and children at the most critical and vulnerable time in life – from birth to three years,’ said Mr Schrapel.

Uniting Communities, a long-term advocate for rebalancing our child protection systems from one of reaction to prevention, applauds this approach.

‘What we are now expecting to flow from the Plan is a renewed effort by the Commonwealth, States and community bodies to work in tandem to identify and reach out to families with children in their formative years,’ said Mr Schrapel.

For media comment:
Simon Schrapel, Chief Executive, Uniting Communities
Ph: 0411 643 132