Protecting children is everybody’s business

A major provider of fostering and family support services is reminding all Queenslanders to look out for children and their safety.

Churches of Christ Care is aiming to have the safety of children at the top of mind at all times, not just during Child Protection Week.

The week, which runs from 4 to 10 September, is marked across the nation and invites all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

Churches of Christ Care Acting General Manager Children, Youth and Families Leanne Rutherford said the week is a time to commemorate and reflect.

“There have been many advances in supporting the safety of children, from the increase in early intervention services to the provision of holistic individual and family care,” Ms Rutherford said.

“Unfortunately the need for these services is only increasing, with families requiring a more proactive response from the community as a whole.”

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that 42,457 Australian children were abused or neglected during 2014-15.

Fortunately, organisations such as Churches of Christ Care are looking out for these children in their time of need. Over 3,700 Queensland children and young people rely on the not-for-profit’s staff and volunteers to provide care and protection for them.

The organisation is supported by over 870 dedicated and compassionate foster and kinship carers who work closely with staff to provide a vital safety net to children and young people who have often come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect. Ms Rutherford said in addition to frontline staff and volunteers, all adults are essential in ensuring children’s safety and wellbeing.

“Kids are honest and they aren’t likely to lie about abuse, so listening to children and young people is the number one way you can assist their safety and wellbeing,” she said.

“If anything does not sound right or feel right, then this may be something you need to act on, by providing support directly to the family or seeking advice from professionals regarding how to manage the situation and increase the safety for the child.”

According to Australian Childhood Foundation research, adults often don’t hear what children say. For children that means that they may need to tell up to six adults before someone hears them about their abuse.

“If you can be the person that stands up for a child, then you are a hero as you have supported them in their toughest of times” Ms Rutherford said.

Churches of Christ Care provides services to children, youth and families in Mount Isa, Townsville, Mackay, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Caboolture, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and the Gold Coast.

An additional five Churches of Christ Care Families Together programs have recently opened providing intensive family support to vulnerable families throughout Queensland. These services are part of the Queensland Government’s Stronger Families program. Churches of Christ Care also provide the Family and Children Connect Service in Wide Bay.

Churches of Christ Care is one of the largest non-government providers of children, youth and family services in Queensland. They provide assessment and intervention services, foster and kinship care, residential and supported independent living services to over 3,700 children and young people each year.

Posted August 29, 2016 in News