Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

States urged to adopt child safety program

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today urged the State and Territory Governments to adopt a new program assisting not-for-profit organisations keep children and young people in their care safe.

Mr Anthony was speaking at the launch of an independent evaluation of the Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisations’ (ACCYO) project aimed at helping children and youth organisations improve their child protection standards.

“The Australian Government funded this project because we recognised the work that ACCYO was doing could potentially assist organisations dealing with children and young people across Australia. I now call on the State and Territory Governments to adopt this program to assist the organisations they deal with to protect the children in their care.

“The project was funded $50,000 by the Australian Government. It was also supported by some of Australia’s leading philanthropic trusts and foundations, not-for profit organisations, the police, magistrates and the judiciary.

“This evaluation shows all 23 organisations participating in the ACCYO Pilot Accreditation project believed it had successfully raised their awareness of child protection issues and the need to ensure standards of protection.

“Around 90 per cent of the organisations felt that their participation in the pilot contributed to improvement in their child protection policies and recommended similar organisations take part in the project.

“Based on the findings of this report ACCYO intends to offer its accreditation model to an additional 100 Victorian community service organisations during the 2003/04 financial year.

“I am confident that a child or young person coming into contact with these services after this project will receive a higher standard of protection than they previously might have.

“By providing high quality standards and guidelines ACCYO has not only given these services a standard to compare against but has also provided consistency amongst the organisations.

“We all have a responsibility to our children and young people to provide them with a high standard of care in a safe and nurturing environment. I am pleased that all of the organisations involved in this project supported the move towards a consistent standard of care across the sector,” Mr Anthony said.