It’s National Child Protection Week from 5 to 11 September and this year the theme is “every child, in every community, needs a fair go.”
Run by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) this year’s theme encourages us to think about equality and making sure that every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.
It’s not just the job of State Government but also the role of individuals, community members and volunteers to help create great communities for children.
Communities’ district offices all around the state have been planning events to celebrate the week – many encouraging community involvement, awareness and education.
Many district offices have nominated a foster child and provided them with a camera so they can photograph the things in their community that represent the theme to them.
Communities is working on several initiatives to ensure the safety of children and give them the opportunity to thrive. In what is fitting timing during National Child Protection Week, the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2021 is due to be debated in Legislative Council this week.
The Bill implements recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) and recommendations of the 2017 Statutory Review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
The safety of children is at the heart of the mandatory reporting reforms. The new mandatory reporting requirements will better protect children by increasing the number of people who must legally report child sexual abuse.
In line with Royal Commission recommendations 7.3 and 7.4, the new reporter groups will be early childhood workers, ministers of religion, out of home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers. Department of Communities officers and assessors appointed to visit residential care services and secure care will also become mandatory reporters.
The amendments will also improve connection to family, culture and Country for Aboriginal children in care, and provide for Aboriginal people to have greater involvement in decision making processes.
It is an important step towards improving children’s right to safety and protection.
For more information on National Child Protection Week visit the NAPCAN website.
See some of the photographs captured by foster care children around Western Australia: