Vote 1 – Children and Their Families
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”. – Nelson Mandela
Child protection is a topic on the agendas of most governments and communities globally. Countries around the world consistently grapple with the multiple issues and competing tensions involved in protecting our most vulnerable children and supporting their families. Deciding where the protection of children ‘fits’ within the competing priorities and complex arrangements of both government and non-government organisations, whilst also engaging the wider community in promoting a robust integrated system that protects children and enhances their life opportunities, is a challenge for Queensland just as it is for many countries around the world.
When Queensland goes to the polls on March 24 2012 PeakCare aims to have child protection and child and family well-being high on the priority list of every Queenslander casting their vote.
With a State election looming, this is a critical period for the child protection sector to unite in influencing the policy platforms of the political parties. PeakCare has been greatly encouraged by the willingness of the major political parties to address key issues in child protection through actively seeking our advice and engaging in solution focused discussions.
As a sector we need to avail ourselves of these opportunities and ensure that child protection, the well-being of families and the needs of vulnerable children and young people are major priorities throughout the election campaign. As such, PeakCare has hit the ground running in preparing a set of Position Papers for presentation to the political parties. These papers will address key matters of interest to our sector about improvements to child protection policies, practice and service delivery.
In addition to an over-arching paper that identifies the attributes of a well- functioning and effective child protection system, a series of more detailed papers addressing specific matters of interest will be grouped under the following categories:
A: Child protection responses, programs and services for children, young people and families
B: Meeting child protection system requirements
C: Promoting communities that value children and young people
Many of the issues highlighted in these papers have featured previously in PeakCare’s work and campaigns. These include the Combined Voices Campaign highlighting the escalating rates of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young in the child protection system, the work of G-Force and our partnership with the CREATE Foundation in drawing media attention to the needs of young people who are transitioning from care to independence and our Munro Campaign during which we have noted the parallels between the UK experience and that of Queensland.
PeakCare’s Child Protection Roundtable Meeting
On Tuesday evening (January 31, 2012), PeakCare hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives of our Member Agencies and other interest groups. The purposes of this meeting were to:
- assist PeakCare in our preparation of the aforementioned Position Papers for presentation to the political parties for their consideration and further discussion with PeakCare
- consider the issues already identified and highlighted by PeakCare within our drafted set of Position Papers
- work with PeakCare to identify other improvements to child protection policy, practice and service delivery that may also warrant attention, and
- obtain, as far as possible, agreed-upon positions across agencies and interest groups in relation to an improved child protection system in the future so that this can be uniformly and strongly stated as sector opinion.
Peakcare is grateful to our dedicated colleagues who turned up after hours to fill the room and offer their significant insights into the key issues currently facing child protection and the ways forward.
Ways you can get involved
For those of you who were unable to attend, you are invited to contact PeakCare using this dedicated email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) about issues you wish to have raised.
All Member Agencies are encouraged to contribute to our ongoing dialogue with the political parties and in particular, we are inviting you to send us recent case studies highlighting your clients’ experiences of the child protection system. We are looking for examples of where the system has worked well, as well as where there is room for improvement. It is noted that all collected information will be presented in ways that protect the identification of Member Agencies, their staff and their clients.
“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat”