Coast to Coast: new frontiers for child protection in Australia

Harries, Maria, Thomson, Jane, and Lonne, Bob (2005) Coast to Coast: new frontiers for child protection in Australia. In: Papers from the CROCCS 2005 Conference, pp. 1-7. From: Challenging Practices: CROCCS 2005 Conference, 5-7 August 2005, Mackay, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

This paper examines the organisation of child protection in Australia, with particular attention paid to both Western Australia (WA) and Queensland. The presenters begin with an overview of the situation across the nation and the impact of a range of public inquiries. Western Australia's development of a 'holistic' family-friendly approach to protecting children from abuse and contemporary issues in practice and institutional arrangements for promoting child wellbeing will be explored. These Western Australian developments will be contrasted with an examination of recent changes in Queensland including a critical analysis of Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission Inquiry into foster care, and the subsequent Queensland Government Blueprint for reform of child protection services. The authors argue that, despite all of the good intentions on both sides of the continent, the way the two jurisdictions approach care and protection issues is failing many children and families. Current approaches have: • Caught up many children, young people and families in a web of chaos; • Reduced the capacity of families and communities; • Distracted us from primary and secondary prevention; and • Produced no hard evidence of efficacy.

The paper poses a fundamental challenge to the organisation of child protection in both states. It is argued that we need a systems reorientation, which works to keep children safe and foster their wellbeing within their families and communities, rather than continue with a narrow and almost exclusive focus on safety. We need to move from being risk-based and deficit-oriented to strengths-based and capacity-centred. In conclusion, the paper argues that the safety and wellbeing of children and young people must be placed within a strong framework of support by the state, market, family and community for all citizens.

Item ID: 7611
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: child protection; ethical framework; reform
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2010 22:54
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940105 Childrens/Youth Services and Childcare @ 100%
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