Families Australia at 20: A timeline of major achievements

Our first decade

7 September 2001: Families Australia incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory and an interim Board is appointed

September 2001: Anne-Marie Mioche appointed inaugural Executive Officer

March 2002: Families Australia is officially launched at Parliament House, Canberra, by Senator the Hon. Amanda Vanstone, Commonwealth Minister for Family and Community Services, as ‘the national peak body representing and promoting the needs and interests of families throughout Australia’

November 2002: Board elected at Families Australia’s first Annual General Meeting. Sandie de Wolf (later AM) elected as Board Chair

May 2003: inaugural National Families Week held, coinciding with the United Nations International Day of Families, with the theme ‘Celebrate your family’. Families Australia subsequently convenes National Families Week in May every year to celebrate the vital role of families whatever for they take.

September 2003: Families Australia launches the ‘Our Children: Our Concern, Our Responsibility’ campaign urging national solutions to child abuse and neglect

April 2004: Families Australia convenes its inaugural conference in Brisbane entitled ‘Globalisation, Families and Work – Meeting the Policy Challenges of the next two decades’

June 2004: Families Australia convenes the ‘National Summit on Child Abuse and Neglect’ in Canberra

January 2005: Brian Babington appointed Chief Executive Officer

August 2005: First edition of monthly (later fortnightly) ‘National Family News’ issued

May 2006: Families Australia convenes the ‘Work, Families and Wellbeing’ forum in Canberra

June 2006: Families Australia chairs National Child Protection Forum and initiates an NGO-research working group to develop the ‘National Child Protection Strategy’ that was to form the basis for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020

2007-2014: Families Australia auspices the Alliance for Forgotten Australians, a national coalition of organisations and individuals working together to promote the interests of adult survivors of abuse in childhood institutional or other out-of-home care

June 2007: Families Australia convenes National Family Wellbeing Symposium in Canberra

October 2007: The Alliance for Forgotten Australians is officially launched at Parliament House, Canberra

November 2007: Families Australia convenes inaugural meeting in Canberra of the ‘Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children’ (later renamed ‘National Coalition for Protecting Australia’s Children’) in Canberra

October 2008: Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of Australia, delivers the Inaugural Families Australia National Oration in Canberra

2008-2015: Distributed over 170,000 hard copies of the AFA booklet, ‘Forgotten Australians: Supporting survivors of childhood institutional care in Australia’

April 2009: Council of Australian Governments announces the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, Australia’s first-ever governmentally-endorsed plan to improve child safety and wellbeing

October 2009: Christine Nixon APM, Chair, Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, delivers the 2nd Families Australia National Oration, at Parliament House, Canberra, on issues facing communities and families particularly when they face disasters and other emergencies

November 2009: The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia, issues the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants

November 2010: Prue Warrilow is elected Families Australia Board Chair

May 2011: Families Australia and Orygen Youth Health co-convene a national roundtable on ‘Mental Health: 21st century challenges for Australian families’ at Old Parliament House, Canberra

May 2011: Former Australian of the Year and Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, Professor Patrick McGorry AO, delivers the 3rd Families Australia National Oration at Parliament House, Canberra, on mental health challenges for Australia

Our second decade

April 2013: Families Australia convenes the inaugural national Child Aware Approaches conference in Melbourne with the theme of ‘Making Child Wellbeing and Safety Your Responsibility’

April 2013: Ms Megan Mitchell, inaugural National Children’s Commissioner, delivers the 4th Families Australia National Oration in Melbourne entitled ‘Walking the talk: towards authentic child voice’

2014-ongoing: Families Australia Co-Chairs the National Forum on Protecting Australia’s Children, the standing government, non-government and research sector forum that oversees the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020

March-April 2014: Families Australia convenes the 2nd Child Aware Approaches Conference in Melbourne with the theme of ‘Sharing, building and recognising child aware innovation’

March 2014: His Honour Justice Peter McClellan AM, Presiding Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, delivers the 5th Families Australia National Oration entitled ‘A safer future for children’

2015: Families Australia chairs National Roundtables to inform the development of the Third Action Plan (2015-18) of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020

2015: Families Australia initiates the Building Stronger Australian Families policy seminar series to focus attention on issues for families

May 2015: Families Australia convenes the 3rd Child Aware Approaches Conference in Melbourne with the theme of ‘Innovations in early intervention, community collaboration and partnership beyond the child and family welfare sector’

May 2015: Aden Ridgeway delivers the 6th Families Australia National Oration entitled ‘The power of high expectations’

May 2016: Families Australia convenes the 4th Child Aware Approaches Conference in Brisbane with the theme ‘Valuing, Protecting and Promoting Child Wellbeing’, including an inaugural Families Australia Young Person’s Panel

May 2016: June Oscar AO, CEO of Marninwarntikurra Women’s Resource Centre, delivers the 7th Families Australia National Oration entitled ‘Healing to thrive: building the collective strengths of our families for positive generational change’

May 2017: Families Australia convenes the 5th Child Aware Approaches Conference in Brisbane with the theme ‘Driving national action on child safety and wellbeing’

2017: Families Australia completes community-level work in seven trial sites around Australia to advance the Child Aware Local Initiative, a major initiative under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, aimed at enhancing community awareness of issues that negatively affects the wellbeing of children and young people.

May 2017: Professor Ngiare Brown, Founding Director of Ngaoarar Ltd. Child and Adolescent Wellbeing, and Deputy Chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, delivers the 8th Families Australia National Oration entitled ‘Children at heart’

March 2019: Families Australia initiates a campaign entitled ‘Beyond 2020’ to promote discussions about directions for national child and family policy following the end of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020

May 2019: Families Australia convenes the 6th Child Aware Conference in Brisbane with the theme ‘Children, young people, families: Our concern, Our responsibility, Our future’

May 2019: Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation, delivers the 9th Families Australia National Oration entitled ‘Dreaming our children’s future’

November 2019: Simon Schrapel AM elected Families Australia Board Chair

March 2020: Families Australia convenes the ‘Child Aware gathering’ in Melbourne featuring a young person’s panel

March 2020: Megan Mitchell, Australia’s inaugural National Children’s Commissioner, delivers the 10th Families Australia National Oration, looking back on her time as National Children’s Commissioner

May 2020: at a time of national crisis due to COVID-19, Families Australia transforms the 18th annual National Families Week into an online celebration of family

June 2020: Families Australia issues a major report entitled ‘Beyond 2020: Towards a successor plan for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020’ to assist in the development of the successor to the National Framework