‘Beyond 2020’ consultations update – there is still time to have your say

Great progress is being made with consultations in capital cities and regional centres on the proposed national child and family wellbeing plan to follow the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

Over the past six months, Families Australia on behalf of the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing has been working closely with governments, NGOs, community groups and leading researchers to help chart future policy directions to assist governmental (COAG) decision making. We engaged young people in dialogue and gave them a platform to voice their views about future directions at the 2019 Child Aware Conference.

Our national consultations kicked off in Hobart (March), continued at the Child Aware Conference (May), Adelaide (August) and this month we have hosted well-attended and lively workshops in Brisbane, Townsville and Ballina, NSW. One of the two Townsville consultations was hosted specifically for parents. We are about half way through our planned events, upcoming workshops are listed below.

We are developing solid ideas about areas for policy emphasis and building engagement for the next national plan.

Key themes that have emerged from consultations so far include:

  • Because many children and families still face major challenges, it is imperative that COAG agree to an ambitious national child and family wellbeing plan when the National Framework ends next year.
  • The new plan must give far greater weight to prevention approaches and be underpinned by substantial ongoing funding, especially to support families with multiple and complex needs.
  • A major priority is to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities, especially to tackle over-representation in out-of-home/alternative care.
  • Broader wellbeing approaches are being increasingly enshrined in policy thinking in Australia and overseas – we should do the same, though not lose focus on the safety of children.
  • Greater collaboration is needed both within governments and across all levels of government to meaningfully integrate efforts and reap synergies.
  • The voices and perspectives of children and young people need to be enshrined in the next plan.

I encourage you to participate in a workshop if you have not already, and share your views on the future direction of child and family wellbeing. Summaries of the Hobart and Adelaide consultations can be found here and further summaries will be available on the Families Australia website ASAP.

Upcoming workshops

Sydney: 1 November. Register here
Perth: 7 November. Register here
Darwin: 21 November. More details coming soon.
Canberra: 28 November. Register here
Melbourne: Date TBC

Dr Brian Babington
October 2019