Coalition for Protecting Australia's Children Update.
Dear Colleague
I am pleased to let you know about next steps to advance the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.
As you may be aware, the Commonwealth Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, has expressed his support for the National Framework in a number of recent speeches, such as at the 2014 Child Aware Approaches Conference and the Australian Institute of Family Studies conference. In separate meetings Minister Andrews has also affirmed to me his strong support for the National Framework.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Community Services Ministers also recently re-stated their commitment to the National Framework and to develop the third three-year action plan for 2015-2018. Secretaries/Directors-General of Commonwealth, State and Territory Government children and family service agencies have held discussions about how to progress the National Framework. 
To advance the next action plan, the National Forum for Protecting Australia’s Children met in Melbourne last week. This group comprises representatives from the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, as well as the NGO Coalition.
That meeting agreed to commence a consultation process to develop the third three-year action plan in early 2015. Consultations will be held in all capital cities and some regional locations. In a tripartite spirit, the consultations are expected to be chaired by the Commonwealth, State/Territory Governments, and the NGO Coalition.
The meeting also endorsed the approach that the third action plan ought to focus on a small number of priority areas with an emphasis on key areas requiring national collaboration across government and the community sector.
A discussion paper will now be prepared to assist the consultations. The consultations will aim to elicit suggestions about major themes and potential action items. It is possible that four or five major themes will be suggested to help structure the consultation process. These may include (but are not yet final): using evidence-based approaches to strengthen universal prevention initiatives and early intervention support; sharing information, best practice and data to build better responses to families; working with vulnerable families experiencing risk factors for child abuse and neglect; building shared expertise in best practice; and working to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
The aim is to finalise and announce the third three-year action plan by mid-2015.
Comment and next steps    
I hope you will agree that the commitment by governments to advance the National Framework in a year of significant political change is a welcome development. Thank you to the many members of the NGO Coalition, in particular the steering group, for helping to maintain the momentum.
We will keep you posted as the schedule for consultations for the next action plan unfolds. To make the third action plan as meaningful as possible, it will be important for Coalition members to participate in the consultation processes over coming months. Thank you for your ongoing support of this vitally important national initiative.
Please contact either me ( or Stella Conroy ( at Families Australia if you have any questions. 
Key National Framework resources
National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020
National Framework second action plan 2012-15

Child Aware Approaches Conference
The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: keeping children safe & well

National standards for out-of-home care

National research agenda for protecting children

Professional foster care: barriers, opportunities, options

Child protection in Australia 2012-13 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)


Brian Babington
Chief Executive Officer
Families Australia
10 December 2014
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