Children and young people are experts in their own lives, and their insights are critical for understanding how we can better support their safety and wellbeing.
This report conveys the views of children, young people and families collected by the National Children’s Commissioner in face-to-face and online consultations and surveys between May and July 2021.
The report presents key issues, identifies priorities, and makes recommendations for action, to inform the government’s five-year actions plans under the Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021–2031 (the National Framework).
The National Framework has four priority groups:
Children and families with multiple and complex needs
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people experiencing disadvantage or who are vulnerable
Children and young people and/or parents/ carers with disability experiencing disadvantage or who are vulnerable
Children and young people who have experienced abuse and/or neglect including children in out-of-home care, and young people leaving out-of-home care and transitioning to adulthood.
The National Framework seeks to improve outcomes for these groups through actions in four focus areas:
A national approach to early intervention and targeted support for children and families experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage
Addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems
Improving information sharing, data development and analysis
Strengthening the child and family sector and workforce capability.
Children, young people, and families told the National Children’s Commissioner about what they need to be safe and well, and what makes it hard to get help when they need it.
Many children and families said it can be hard to find the help they need and sometimes the right help isn’t there for them. They emphasised the value of more co-ordinated ‘wraparound’ services and service providers whom they can trust.
Children, young people and families told us that the top three things that children need to be safe are:
help with housing
mental health services
help with basic needs, like food, clothing, transport, and school supplies.
Children, young people and families also told us how important it is that governments and service providers listen to them when making decisions that affect them.
The National Children’s Commissioner would like to thank all the children, young people, parents, carers and grandparents, who courageously shared their experiences and their wisdom in consultations and surveys, so that children in Australia can be safe and well.
Thank you also to all the service providers and key stakeholders who provided practical support and advice for this report.
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