The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well

The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well

Cathryn Hunter and Rhys Price-Robertson

CFCA Paper No. 21 — May 2014
The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well

Child Aware Approaches is a grassroots initiative that engages civil society to develop local approaches, actions and initiatives to keep children safe and well, recognising that protecting children is a shared responsibility. This paper defines Child Aware Approaches, outlines the philosophies and principles underpinning this strategy, and offers case study examples of how the principles can be applied in practice. This paper is intended for service managers and practitioners working with vulnerable children and families, particularly those working in adult-focused service sectors.

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Key messages

There has been growing awareness that parental problems such as substance misuse, mental illness and family or domestic violence, are often related to negative outcomes for children.

This paper is intended as a practical resource for organisations, practitioners and individuals working in social services (particularly services for children, families and adults) to put the needs, views and aspirations of children and young people at the heart of actions to improve child and family wellbeing and safety.

The paper explains the five core philosophies and 10 key principles underpinning Child Aware Approaches, to provide practical guidance for those working with vulnerable children and families and to inform policies, procedures and practices within organisations.

The paper explains the five core philosophies and 10 key principles underpinning Child Aware Approaches, to provide practical guidance for those working with vulnerable children and families and to inform policies, procedures and practices within organisations.

Practice considerations are provided as examples to inspire thought and discussion of the different levels at which action may be required in applying the principles of Child Aware Approaches.

Case study examples highlight the diversity of innovative and creative ways in which the principles of Child Aware Approaches have been applied in a variety of settings and situations.

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Authors and Acknowledgements

Cathryn Hunter is a senior research officer in the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange.

Rhys Price-Robertson is a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Jo Commerford and Veronica Meredith for their invaluable contributions to the report.

Thanks also to Professor Alan Hayes, Elly Robinson, Dr Killian Mullan and Ken Knight for feedback and advice. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the guidance and advice provided by the Child Aware Approaches Reference Group members:

  • Mr Brian Babington, Chief Executive Officer, Families Australia, and Coordinator, Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia's Children;
  • Ms Helen Bedford, Branch Manager, Children's Policy Branch, Department of Social Services (DSS) (formerly Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; FaHCSIA);
  • Ms Stella Conroy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Families Australia (Co-Chair);
  • Ms Lisa Coulson, Board member, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC);
  • Ms Meredythe Crane, Manager Policy and Strategic Communications, Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia;
  • Ms Margaret Fisher, Section Manager, Children's Policy Branch, Department of Social Services;
  • Dr Wendy Foote, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Association of Children's Welfare Agencies NSW;
  • Ms Helen Francis, Project Manager, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia;
  • Dr Daryl Higgins, Deputy Director (Research), Australian Institute of Family Studies;
  • Ms Elizabeth Hunter, Child Aware Conference Co-ordinator, Families Australia (secretariat/rapporteur);
  • Ms Vanessa Lee, Vice-President (ATSI), Public Health Association of Australia;
  • Professor Morag McArthur, Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University;
  • Mr Brendan O'Hanlon, Mental Health Co-ordinator, The Bouverie Centre;
  • Ms Bev Orr OAM, President, Australian Foster Care Association; and
  • Ms Prue Warrilow, Convenor, Association of Community Children's Services, and Chairperson, Families Australia.

The feature image is by Kiuko, CC BY-ND 2.0.

Publication details

CFCA Paper
No. 21
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, May 2014.
Last updated May 2014
48 pp.
ISSN: 
2200-4106
ISBN: 
978-1-922038-49-4

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