Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Building skills to protect Australia’s children

The Australian Government will develop and roll-out an accredited training program to boost the capacity of community service workers to identify and respond to families and children who are at risk, with more than $2.1 million in funding over the next three years.

As part of the Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, the Australian Centre for Child Protection will deliver the new Building Capacity Building Bridges program in 12 communities with high levels of disadvantage across the country.

The program will help organisations delivering services to families and children, improve the skills of their staff so they can identify families who are struggling and respond quickly and effectively before problems escalate.

As part of the program, the skills and expertise of workers who work in adult-focused services will be strengthened including workers in drug and alcohol, mental health, homelessness, and domestic violence services.

We want these services to be more aware of any risk there might be to the safety and wellbeing of children so they can then to refer these families to other appropriate services.

The program has a strong focus on Indigenous communities with more than half the locations selected in communities with a high Indigenous population.

More than 700 workers will receive accredited training under this program, and up to 30 highly skilled workers will be supported to become trainers themselves so that they can continue to deliver the program in their local community.

The program will also provide flexible, ongoing support to organisations who have received training through brokerage funding for example, to supporting mentoring or leadership development of high performing staff.

The safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children is a national responsibility. The Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments along with the non-government sector are working in partnership to implement the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

This new national approach is harnessing unprecedented resolve, commitment and effort to protect our children through a new level of cooperation across all levels of government and non-government organisations.