Empowering communities to provide every child a fair go.
Image: A woman with two young children stands outside.
As National Child Protection Week approaches (3-9 September 2023), the focus is firmly set on creating communities that prioritise the safety and wellbeing of every child. The theme for this year 'Where We Start Matters,' aligns with our goals at Life Without Barriers. We are dedicated to working to ensure that children have the best start in life.
Starting with family and community
Life Without Barriers partners with government to create lasting systemic change across Australia, so that more children can thrive within their own families and communities, and the need for child protection services is minimised.
This is crucially important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We are working with the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC - National Voice for our Children) to transition Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children we support in out-of-home care to community control, so they can grow up safe and cared for in family, community, and culture. This partnership is founded upon the Family Matters Building Blocks.
Image: An Aboriginal woman holding a young Aboriginal boy in the kitchen smiling at the camera.
Starting with safety
We Put Children First is our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children. All staff and carers are required to be a part of this commitment, to recognise the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours and understand the importance of speaking up about child safety concerns.
Every day, Life Without Barriers offers support and care to children. We want every one of those children to feel as safe and respected as they should.
Read about our We Put Children First commitment.
Life Without Barriers provides the SAFE Series, published by the NSW (New South Wales) Children’s Guardian, to young children in out-of-home care. The set of children’s books contains empowering personal safety messages. Recently, we have been able to provide the SAFE Series to children supported by other organisations too, thanks to a Perpetual IMPACT grant.
“The SAFE books are evidence based, high quality resources that provide clear and engaging messages to young children about safety." Said Melinda Clarke, Manager Child Safe Organisation.
For teenagers, we are working on a series of videos about respectful relationships and consent, to help young people have the best start in their relationships.
Image: Four different SAFE book covers. They have cartoon children and text.
Starting with education
As a major provider of out-of-home care, we recognise that we play an important role in children’s lives – we are responsible for ensuring that children have the best start in life, including their education journey, and supporting them reach their learning goals and full potential.
Our 2023-2025 Education Strategy "Learning Without Barriers" outlines our commitment to working together to ensure our education systems are inclusive.
You can read the Learning Without Barriers Strategy here!
We aspire to see all children and young people in out-of-home care given opportunities to learn to love reading and enhance their own literacy story. Through our annual Hook into Books™ campaign, we support children and young people to experience literacy and language enhancement through exposure to books, cultural connections, and digital literacy resources.
Image: Graphic of the Hook into Books™ logo with a purple wizard making a magic background.
What is National Child Protection Week?
National Child Protection Week is a campaign spearheaded by NAPCAN which aims to promote a safe and supported life for every child, now and into the future. Under the banner of 'Every Child in Every Community Needs a Fair Go,' the initiative calls for collective efforts to ensure that children are heard, respected, and safe in their environments.
Tuning in to children's voices
Children are safest when they are listened to, respected, and believed. All adults can play a part by ‘tuning in’ to children in everyday situations about small worries; then they are much more likely to feel comfortable telling us if something big is wrong.
Talking with children about safety
NAPCAN has shared some ways for adults to help children feel safe:
Support children to identify trusted adults (both within the family and outside) they can talk to, if they are worried, upset, or don’t feel safe. Make sure these adults know they are on the child’s list.
Remind children that they can talk to you or a trusted adult about anything, no matter how big or small their worry might be.
Talk to children about how they know when they feel safe or unsafe. Help them to listen to their early warning signs (how their body feels), and to trust their feelings and instincts.
Use everyday activities as opportunities for conversations (e.g. preparing meals and snacks, going for walks, playing, shopping). If children are used to having lots of communication, it can make it easier to talk when big or tricky issues come up.
Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety. This helps children to develop a ‘feelings vocabulary’.
National Child Protection Week 2023 is encouraging everyone to join the campaign using hashtags #ncpw and #ncpw23 #wherewestartmatters.
For more information and to get involved, visit NAPCAN's website where you can find resources, posters, and videos!
Child Protection Week 2023 with Life Without Barriers
Child protection lives in our hearts and minds every day.
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