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Amplifying Children and Young People’s Voices in Australia’s Child Protection Sector

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Third Sector’s 6th National Child Protection Forum brought together industry leaders and experts across Australia to address the growing need for change in the system through innovative approaches to the country’s child protection system.  

The two-day forum held from the 20 –23rd of June at Voco Brisbane City Centre emphasised the importance of amplifying the voices of children and young people through collaboration, networking, and sharing innovative solutions.  

“By putting children and young people at the heart of the strategy, policy and practice, we will create better services that help keep them safe,” said YMCA Australia Executive Director Phil Doorgachurn.    

Doorgachurn, one of the forum’s main speakers, addressed how we can ensure children’s and young people’s voices are heard in strategy, policy, and practises by delving into what a child’s voice is, why it’s important to gain children’s voices, and how we can achieve meaningful participation from children.  

One key realisation from the forum was the increasing scale of child protection systems. The growing need for intervention highlights the urgency to address underlying unaddressed factors such as out-of-home care, neglect, abuse etc.   

Numerous event attendees expressed that it gave them a valuable chance to establish connections, generate ideas, and ultimately bring about positive transformations in their work. They regarded it as an opportunity to exchange perspectives and acquire knowledge from diverse individuals.  

Aboriginal Legal Service Principal Solicitor Family Law, Care and Protection Law, NSW & ACT Louise Coady, spoke about the intersections between family law and child protection law – in particular, the opportunity that the family law jurisdiction provides for Aboriginal families to proactively make their arrangements to keep kids safe.  

“I pray in each corner of Australia, parts of what I have shared will land and impact every little corner through the work of the warriors protecting our kids, the families nurturing the children and the systems designed to protect them,” said 6th National Child Protection Forum Chair, Kelly Humphries.   

Humphries shared that the system and the families that care for the children could be better, but in events like Third Sector, where people come together to share knowledge, insight and awareness, there’s always hope for change.  

“The conference enhanced my practice and knowledge in keeping children and families safe in our current and changing climate of safety concerns,” said Social Futures Program Worker Susan McGeever. 

According to McGeever, the event explored what needs to change in our systems better to meet the safety needs of families and children.  

As the conference drew close, participants left with a renewed commitment to advancing the rights and protection of children and young people in Australia.  

By engaging with the voices of children and the youth, professionals and policymakers can gain valuable insights into their unique needs, concerns, and aspirations. This inclusive approach fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and provides a solid foundation for designing policies and practices that effectively safeguard their well-being. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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