The Australian Centre for Child Protection and Families Australia were proud to jointly provide national leadership for the Australian Government's Child Aware Local Initiative (CALI).
The Child Aware Local Initiative aimed to enhance community awareness of the range of issues negatively affecting the wellbeing of children and to support communities to foster safe and nurturing environments for their children.
1. What are Child Aware Approaches?
Child Aware Approaches are community-led, innovative and practical actions to keep children safe and well.
2. What is the Child Aware Local Initiative?
The Child Aware Local Initiative (CALI) was a capacity-building initiative which supported communities to undertake early intervention and prevention activities that contributed to keeping children safe and well.
The Child Aware Local Initiative is a central priority under the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 and the Second Action Plan 2012-15. Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments, the National Framework presents an unprecedented level of collaboration between Australian, State and Territory governments and non-government organisations to protect children.
The supporting outcomes of the National Framework are the key drivers of the Child Aware Local Initiative which was implemented through a partnership between the community sector and Commonwealth and state and territory governments.
The six supporting outcomes of the National Framework are:
- Children live in safe and supportive families and communities;
- Children and families access adequate support to promote safety and intervene early
- Risk factors for child abuse and neglect are addressed
- Children who have been abused or neglected receive the support and care they need for their safety and well being
- Indigenous children are supported and safe in their families and communities
- Child sexual abuse and exploitation is prevented and survivors receive adequate support
Key messages of the Child Aware Local Initiative include:
- Protecting children is everyone's business
- Children have a right to be safe, valued and cared for
- The best way to protect children is to prevent abuse and neglect from happening in the first place
- Children and families should have a 'voice' in decisions affecting their lives
- Governments, communities, organisations and individuals can work together to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families
- A 'one size fits all' approach does not work across Australia's diverse communities
- Local solutions are required for local problems
- Culturally diverse groups need culturally sensitive responses
3. Who lead the implementation of this Initiative?
The Australian Centre for Child Protection and Families Australia.
4. How it worked.
Communities were supported to develop and implement sustainable local plans of action by bringing together existing resources and networks within communities.
In each community a lead organisation was partnered with a range of agencies, groups and individuals such as national, state and local government agencies, community leaders, community sector organisations and groups, corporate and small business, health and education institutions, child protection services and children, parents and families.
5. What was achieved?
Communities implemented practical actions and local solutions that contributed to keeping children safe and well. Practical actions included developing resources and some training tools or families reaching out to other families or services asking about children’s needs. A review of the Child Aware Local Initiative was conducted in June 2016 by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
6. Child Aware Local Initiative Locations
Maryborough, Vic; Lismore, NSW; Townsville, Qld; Katherine, NT; Seaford, SA; South Tuggeranong, ACT; Geeveston, Tas.
7. Support provided
The Australian Centre for Child Protection and Families Australia brought stakeholders together and provided support to develop a community vision and associated practical action to drive sustainable change for children in each of the CALI locations.
Relevant research, training, tools and practice examples from successful projects were provided to address local needs.
People from the CALI locations told us what 'Child Aware' meant to them. Click here to watch the video.
For more information on the Local Initatives, click here