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Statement of the Policy

Discuss About the Key Elements of National Framework Policy?

Child abuse is a problem that has surfaced worldwide for quite a long time. It is deeply rooted in social, economic and cultural practices. Children undergo various hazardous forms such as kidnap, neglect, forced employment, poor working conditions. Sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse among other forms of abuse. Most children living in poverty are more predisposed to exploitation and child abuse. In Australia the rates of child abuse have been on the rise, this is according to a report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This report indicated that reports of abuse had risen by 3% between 2011 to 2012.This report further reported that the 93% of children were in foster homes due to child abuse. The highest number of reported cases of abuse involved children below the age of five years (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016). Due to the increased number of this statistics, the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children was established. National framework for protecting Australia’s Children (COAG) policy in Australia aims at ensuring that children in Australia are protected against any forms of exploitation or abuse.

Statement of the policy where it requires the state, territory and Commonwealth government and the NGOs to corporate in protecting Australia’s children against abuse.

An agreement to effect the national framework policy among the state, commonwealth, and territory organizations as well as non –governmental organizations.

A series of three-year action plans that outline the long-term approach in protecting Australian’s children (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013).

This policy contains enriched steps and procedure to ensure that children are protected across, the state, commonwealth and territory governments as well as the non-government organizations. Below are some of the procurers stipulated;

Confidentiality of information gathere

Addressing risk factors surrounding child abuse

Circulating the workshop agenda to stakeholders

Ensuring that disclosed abuse are exposed to the community.

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children was established on 30 April 2009. The Council of Australian Governments endorsed it after the reported increase in children who were being exposed and abused in Australia. The mission statement for the national framework was that it is everyone’s business to protect children. These governments in collaboration with non-government institutions in Australia worked together in developing a national approach whose aim was to eliminate the child exploitation and abuse in the nation. This national framework was planned to be established in a series of three-year action plans. This action plan was outlined in this manner.

Steps to Ensure Child Protection

This was the first established plan by the state, commonwealth, territory government and the non-governmental sectors. It was the foundation of how the entire nation was going to improve the wellbeing and safety of the children. All the government sectors and non-government sectors planned to move on forward in unison in eradicating child abuse. There were more than 70 actions plans for the first three-year action plan (Australian and Council of Australian Governments, 2012). These actions were grouped into four major categories. The first category was the ongoing initiatives for children and their families. Secondly, the actions were grouped under national priorities; these were those proposed by the government on child protection. Thirdly, there was the category of social reform agendas, which stipulated the major reforms to be undertaken. Lastly, there were the community actions, which involved the society initiatives on the issue of child abuse. (Australia and Council of Australian Government, 2010). The first three-year plan constituted of various achievements. The first achievement was transforming of young people from out-of-home care to independence. Secondly, the plan achieved working with children checks .thirdly; the plan was able to achieve offering support to those people taking care of the children. Fourthly, the plan was able to provide national standards for out-of-home facilities. Finally, yet importantly, there was an achievement in establishing of a national children’s commissioner in Australia.

The second three-year plan began in 2012 and was completed in 2015. The major emphasis of this action plan was to establish partnerships locally with the diverse Australian communities. The main aim of this action was to create local solutions for every local community; this is the realization that a standard approach for all the communities did not respond well. Every community has different needs from another. Thus specific strategies are required. The government and non-government sectors set other strategies during this period. First, there was the early intervention to children lives. Secondly, collaborating with services such as mental health, drug and education and health services in assisting the abused children.In this plan, it worked towards strengthening the first plans achievement, in ensuring that children in Australia are safe in their growing up. At the end of the third year, there were four major achievements made by the action plan (Council of Australian Governments and Australia, 2012).  First, there was the establishment of the ‘Child Protection National Minimum Data Set.'  Secondly, there was testing of ‘Child Aware Approaches’ strategies that were responsible for developing partnerships with the governments and the non-government sectors. Thirdly, they achieved establishing the very first national report on the set standards for out of home care. Lastly, the action plan achieved transforming TILA (Transition to Independent Living Allowance).

History of the COAG Policy

The territory, commonwealth, and state leaders endorsed this third action plan in 2015. The third plan presents a unique combination of measures. This includes putting more emphasis on child safety and early involvement in the child’s life, and among Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal children. There are various strategies set out by this action plan. The first was organizations to respond in a better way to children and young people for their safety. The second strategy was early focus and intervention in the life of a child, preferably, the first 1000 days. The third strategy, assisting those young people in out of home care to ensure their safety as they grow into adulthood and become independent. Fourthly, the action plan has strategized to develop and establish child –safe organizations. The last strategy aims to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are offered better support to reduce the figures of children who need help among their families. This action plan is still in place, and its focus is on reporting and research as well as the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal families (Australia, 2015).

The government of Australia is fully responsible for children protection from abuse or exploitation through this policy in Australia .the government leads to the establishment of this policy while closely working with other territories, states, and other non-governmental institutions.  The main responsibility is to ensure that this policy is well stipulated and delivered and positive results are achieved. Another responsibility of the government is implementing reforms child protection legal systems. It has also been involved in engaging the non-government sectors into the policy to ensure, that every persona and body is involved in protecting children in Australia from abuse.

The policy of National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children fits well in Australia, due to the actual increase of child abuse in Australia. This nation has reported an increase, in the number of children undergoing exploitation every year, hence something needed to be done in the organization. The development of the national framework on child protection and safety is a bold move by the government in ensuring the protection of children and ensuring that the cases of child abuse reduce in Australia (Fighters against Child Abuse Australia, 2012).  This policy aims at addressing and making changes to the abuse of children that is rampant among families in Australia. The main objective is to find solutions in curbing child abuse and ensure that the abused children get maximum support in recovering from the abuse. The policy aims at establishing and building child-care organizations, that will help to solve the assist the abused children and to ensure that effective measures are taken against those people or organizations found mistreating children.

Overview of the 3 Three-Year Action Plans

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health Welfare, there were more than 55000 reports of child abuse between the year 2007 and 2008.However, within the last ten years, Australia has reported a continuous increase in the number of children who are abused on a daily basis. Additionally, more reports of child neglect have been on the rise as well in this nation. This increase in the number of child abuse is accounted to the changing of social values in the society. In the past, child protection was needed only in the place of physical abuse. However, today there has been emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence and neglect to children and more protection to children needed. The drivers to increment in the child abuse in Australia can also be attributed the knowledge and increased awareness of the safety and protection of children, in addition to changing social values. The reason, why the number of children who are abused, remain not known, is that the society has not embraced the act of reporting child abuse. Most cases are realized after the death of the children. Thus, the national framework is faced with the problem of changing this fact.  It is creating awareness to familiarize the community with child protection services. Furthermore, it is imposing necessary measures to reporting the child abuse among families in the society. For the community to adopt this policy, a lot of awareness needs to be done among the families in Australia.

There are various assumptions underlying child abuse in Australia. For instance, In Australia, child abuse was based on physical abuse in the past; this has been the assumption among some families. They believe that child abuse is only in the physical form, thus not considering neglect or emotional abuse to children. This assumption has seen an increase in cases of child abuse in emotionally. Secondly, there is the assumption of unreliability, where the society in Australia has always view children as unreliable witnesses. The assumption here is that children live in fantasy and most of the time their evidence may be biased and inaccurate. They view children as egocentric and believe they can invest a make-believe world (Spencer and Flin, 2008). This assumption has hindered the eradication of child abuse, as most of the time, the information may be considered inaccurate. This assumption has caused the law in Australia to indicate that it is dangerous to convict and make a judgment on a child’s evidence. This assumption has led to many abusers go free, and children continue to suffer in silence. This creates a major hindrance in solving the problem of child abuse in Australia.

Responsibilities of the Government in the Policy

Thirdly, there is an assumption on sexual abuse, where the attacker is always considered to have a mental health condition or to be sick. This assumption has led to victims, suffering in silence due to guilt and fear of shame. The language used by the society when it comes to child abuse is the main cause of continuous sexual abuse by close people to the family. The society needs to stop having the mind concepts that the victimizer is sick and not of sound mind. Again the language associating sexual abuse with shame should be dropped. This will enable that these children who are sexually abused can be able to speak it out without guilt, to seek help (Bromfield, 2012).lastly in Australia, there was the assumption that parents who were very sick or evil neglect children. They were first to generalize, this as a rear occurrence. Another assumption was born from this; the society assumed that having evil parents or very sick parents is rear. This has led to children suffering internally since many people consider neglect not to exist. However, on this assumptions, the society needs to acknowledge that they need to change their language and see things differently in light so that children can be protected from sexual abuse.

In the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children policy, it stipulates that everyone in the society should be responsible for protecting children against abuse and ensuring they have a good livelihood.  The policy states that the responsibility belongs to all (Council of Australian Governments and Australia, 2013). Under this policy, the key people are outlined below.

These stakeholders are very crucial in identifying the child abuse among children and families. The state and territory government set up various initiatives to prevent child abuse in the society these initiatives include, for instance, early interventions into the life of the child.  They also are responsible for funding and supporting the strategies set by non-governmental sectors. The state government is responsible for coming up with legal systems for child protection as well as delivering education and health services to the abused children. Furthermore, it has contributed to justice systems, which allow children to be witnesses in cases of abuse and seek protection.  Lastly, the government is involved in conducting extensive research on child abuse and protection.

The Australian government is responsible for the provision of support to families in raising their children. This is majorly in financial income to the families. Furthermore, the Australian government provides a wide range of other services, such as employment, child and parents support, law system to families and Medicare services to disadvantaged families.  It does not only support children when in home care facilities but provides monetary support to them when they start living independently.

Child Protection Policy

These sectors contribute actively to child protection safety and ensure government services are offered on their behalf. They also take part in the establishment of programs and policies that help to identify child abuse activities and ensure the eradication of such concepts.

The community plays a major role as stakeholders in this policy. The society is responsible for protecting the vulnerable members of the society from more abuse and offering emotional support to them. The community is also responsible for assisting families in raising their children properly without abuse.

Parents play a major role in bringing up their children well and ensuring that they do not undergo any form of abuse. They are responsible for making wise decisions on their children activities and ensure safety all the time.

Children have the role of reporting on any cases of abuse they encounter and seek help whenever it is required.

The local government ensures support to vulnerable families by providing infrastructures such a youth and family centers. This would ensure that vulnerable family is offered moral support in the centers.

The business also plays a vital role in children safety. They may be involved in activities that promote the raising of children in friendly policies in the business such as taking children in skills-building seminars. The corporate sector is also involved in offering some financial assistance to support the vulnerable families. Lastly, corporate sectors, support the programs and initiatives set upon for child protection.

Child abuse can be looked at as the denial of the children rights as well. This may be a major issue facing children out there, where they do not go to school because the parents do not ant them to or the children are forced to attend a school that they do not like. This may cause the child to develop depression that may have significant effects on the child. Many children are born with different disabilities and may be added by being ridiculed by family members. This policy should consider developing measures to help those children who are abused based on the body formation or defects. The government should ensure that disability education centers are built for those children who continuously face abuse at home and parents do not take them to school. This policy leaves out the establishment of legal measures to any person, who is a suspect to child abuse or found guilty. The territory, state and local government as well the nongovernmental sectors, should develop strict measures to be given to the law system in Australia, stipulating on how such cases should be handled. The policy also overlooks the importance of the media in creating awareness in Australian on child safety. The government of Australia should consider child abuse a major disaster in the country, a measure to prevent the abuse of children.

References.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2014-15. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, (2013). Scoping reportable measures for the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020: Supporting outcome 1: working paper.

Australia., & Council of Australian Governments. (2010). Annual report to the Council of Australian Governments: Protecting children is everyone's business: National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020. Canberra: Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Australia. (2015). Driving change intervening early: National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020: third three-year action plan, 2015-2018.

Australia., & Council of Australian Governments. (2012). Protecting children is everyone's business: National framework for protecting Australia's children 2009-2020: ... three-year action plan. Canberra, A.C.T: Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Bromfield, Leah. (2012). Child protection in Australia. (Child protection systems: an international comparison of "good practice examples" of five countries (Australia, Germany, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom) with recommendations for Sweden, pp. 150-181.) Switzerland: The Swiss Project Fund for Child Protection.

Council of Australian Governments., & Australia. (2012). Protecting children is everyone's business: National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children: second three-year action plan 2012-2015. Canberra, A.C.T.: Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Council of Australian Governments., & Australia. (2013). Protecting children is everyone's business: National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020: annual report to the Council of Australian Governments 2011-12. Canberra, A.C.T.: Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

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