Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Child protection is everyone’s business

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today gave his full support for the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) 2003 National Child Protection Week campaign, Child Protection is Everyone’s Business.

National Child Protection Week will run from 7-13 September and the Australian Government has supported the week with $220,000 funding to NAPCAN.

“While child protection is a State and Territory Government area to administer, it is important the community recognises it is not an issue owned by Governments. We all have a responsibility to care and protect our children and young people.

“The sheer size of the problem is daunting. Latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that:

  • Substantiations of child abuse and neglect increased from 24,732 in 1999-00 to 30,473 in 2001-02;
  • The number of children placed in out-of-home care increased from 14,078 to 18,880 over the same period;
  • 51 per cent of children in out-of-home care are in foster care; and,
  • While the quality of the data on Indigenous status varies between States and Territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in the child protection system.

“State and Territory Governments have been unable to reduce the number of children who are subject to abuse and neglect. It is the toughest area they have to deal with.

“The Australian Government also has a leadership role and we are committed to a range of early intervention and prevention approaches to give all Australian children the best possible start in life.

“This commitment includes the development of a National Agenda for Early Childhood, the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, Men and Family Relationships program and the Child Abuse Prevention Program.

“We have spearheaded the commitment by all States and Territories to develop a National Action Plan for Foster Children and Carers that will focus on training, research, uniform data collection and support.

“However, we all have a responsibility to care and protect our children and young people. It is vital that Governments and communities work together to solve the problem,” Mr Anthony said.

Mr Anthony encouraged all Australians to show their support for protecting Australia’s children through one of the many events this week, including Creative Outrageous Day run by NAPCAN and the CREATE Foundation on Friday, 12 September.