As of March 2022, the number of children in care in Queensland was over 11,000, and growing. During Child Protection Week (4-10 September), Anglicare SQ is focusing on raising awareness of the needs of Australian children in care.
Anglicare Southern Queensland Foster Care Practitioner, Liesa Henderson, says that child protection is a global concern, and that everyone needs to be accountable.
“I don’t think child protection should sit with only child protection workers. If anyone sees or hears a child is in a bad situation, they need to be proactive,” Ms Henderson said.
Community members are encouraged to support one another as child protection is everyone’s responsibility and we should all be focused on the best outcomes for children.
“Foster care is about providing a safe home for children who can’t live with their families. And our agency that supports foster carers to ensure that we keep the placements stable and reduce children moving to other placements,” she said.
“We do some great work, but I feel there is more children coming into foster care than the system can manage.”
Henderson says that child protection services need more funding and resources to support families before their situation devolves enough to require foster care intervention.
“There are a lot of families out there that could benefit from extra support. Early intervention and more funding to give parents the skills they need to keep their children at home,” she said.
Anglicare Southern Queensland Foster Care Practitioner, Maureen Baxter, says that the first part of making children safe is to raise awareness in the community.
“There are a lot of children in foster care, and we need more people to care for them. Children need more organisations that will advocate for them,” Ms Baxter said.
Julie Green, another Anglicare Southern Queensland Foster Care Practitioner, who has been navigating the foster care system for many years, shares Baxter’s sentiment.
“If there’s one thing that could make a difference, we could have more advocates,” Ms Green said.
“An advocate is important so that children are comfortable enough to express their needs.
“Foster care plays an important role in child protection. It is an opportunity for adults to demonstrate to children that says they are important and it’s also about that awareness of healthy connections.
“Healthy connections can make a huge difference in a child’s life. It’s about being present in a child’s life. I see you, I hear you, I understand you.
“Child Protection Week is a great opportunity to provide an awareness of the needs of children, that some children aren’t particularly safe in the community.”
Child Protection Week runs from 4 September to 10 September and promotes the value of children by focusing attention on the issues of child abuse and neglect.
“Child Protection week is important to raise community awareness and it’s an opportunity to showcase what stakeholders do in this sector,” Ms Henderson said.Jump to next article