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Children of each country deserve safe, healthy and happy childhood. These children are the ones who will contribute greatly to the bright future for everyone on this globe. Appropriate child development can happen only if child welfare and child protection is taken care of. But on the contrary, the rate of child abuse and child neglect is rising rapidly in this modern age toady. The young children are a prey to some kind of mental or physical assault or are forced to work in harmful conditions or be involved in harmful activities. Also, in addition to adverse effect on the well-being of the children, inadequate care and protection of the children impacts the achievement of development of broader objectives which relate to child survival rates, health of children, child education, and economic growth. Vulnerable children experiencing such kind of childhood can be a significant disadvantage to the society as well. In addition to the negative impact on the children themselves, the economic growth of country is also affected because these children are the pillars of tomorrow. These concerning impacts of failure of child protection are likely to grow rapidly unless this is addressed urgently.
Thus, it is essential that governments of all the countries and the forums like United Nations engage in child welfare and child protection and development framework for the same.
The failure of protecting children is a global crisis now, with over 0.5-1.5 children experiencing violence each (Davidson et.al., 2017). Over the recent some years the reported incidents of child abuse and child neglect has been increased in many nations of the world, one of which is Australia. Child neglect and child abuse has become a national concern and the statutory child protection systems are struggling to achieve its objectives (Todahl et.al., 2019). Like governments of any other nations, the government of Australia is determined to be a national leader in child protection and child welfare and to collaborate and partner with the indigenous community which is essential to protect the children.
The government has developed various policies and framework for this purpose like the National child protection framework for protection and welfare of the children. Child protection and child welfare refers to strategies that aim to protect children from exploitation, abuse, neglect and violence. This framework is related to better care of children, which and makes sure that more children grow up in safe and caring environment and have a good quality of life (Dolan& Frost, 2017).
The government also frames policy at the state level and works with the state and regional governments, non-profit organizations, service delivery committees, child protection advocate and experts in collaboration to achieve the goal of complete child development and child protection and welfare (Collins, 2018).
Child neglect and child abuse is not just confined to indigenous communities of Australia in the interiors and remote regions of Australia. Child abuse is also witnessed even in the most developed cities, towns and other regions. The government is responsible and accountable to take every possible measure to prevent this child abuse wherever it occurs.
The prevalent child welfare policies focus on addressing issues as homelessness, poverty, alcohol and drug addictions, etc (Haskins, Currie & Berger, 2015). While addressing these issues is important, it is also necessary to understand that issues of child neglect and child abuse cannot be alone prevented by finding solutions to these issues. It is also important to understand how these factors are inter-related and collaborated efforts and attention of governments along with non-profit organisations is required to prevent this maltreatment of children. Also, most of the present policies provide support to the families of the remote indigenous population neglecting the developed cities. Thus, it is important to provide service and support to all families and the broader community to eradicate this problem of child abuse and child neglect. These factors form a key part of proposing a new child welfare policy.
Parents and families are the key stakeholders and are primarily responsible for caring and protecting children. Territory and state government are also responsible to involve in this if children of a community are at a risk of abuse and neglect and their welfare is affected. It is important to implement a range of public policies from all levels of government to help strengthen families and prevent conditions of child neglect and abuse. Special departments or ministries can be appointed for this purpose. Along with the government it is important for the people to also participate in this activity. People of a society are also accountable to prevent child abuse and child neglect. They can form committees and non-governmental and non-profit organizations to contribute to this cause. According to Percora et.al (2018), it is also the duty of the government to support such organizations and work in collaboration with them, as these are the people who work at the ground level.
The government at all levels understand that early intervention and investment to protect and support children have considerable long-term benefits for both the community and the nation and for the individuals. Thus, the policy will include framework for strong investments in early child education and child care through guaranteed and universal access to preschool, and providing good quality of life to all children. The policy also addresses the disadvantage to indigenous communities. The policy aims reduce the mortality rate of children in these remote areas due to malnourishment and reduce the illiteracy rates in coming five years. The government also through its policies aims to promote inclusion of children in partnership with non-profit organisations as the non-profit sector is the key player operating at a broader level and protection of people.
A government proposes a policy or implements a framework to children because the safety and development of children is important for all government. The policy would be a practical, workable document outlining the concrete framework and actions to be employed by each department to protect children. It is very important to lay down a unified child protection system. The goal of this policy is to provide a national framework to enable a more collaborated and integrated efforts and response across all governments and non-governmental organizations to ensure that children of Australia can live and develop in a same and caring environment (Mendes & McCurdy, 2019). The policies define the role and responsibilities of these players more clearly. Some of the key areas proposed in the policy are as follows:
The proposed policy will assist in formulating an effective childcare system which will provide support to families and children for their overall development. The policy and the people who are part of the policy framework should strive to diminish the social factors of social disadvantages. It is the responsibility of the ministry of the nation and the child-welfare department to ensure effective implementation and legislation of the proposed policy. Along with implementation ensuring best service delivery by the workforce and measuring and monitoring the efforts is essential. The implementation of this policy will assist the government to structure childcare and family care programmes. Such programmes aim to reduce the psychological and physical health problems, substance addictions and other problems that puts the safety and well-being of children at risk. The policy will facilitate raising of children in an adequate nourished and loving environment. It will provide a violence-free environment for children to flourish and develop.
All government have the potential to do their best in preventing situations of child abuse and child neglect and in ensuring the wellbeing and development of all children of the country. The government for this purpose frames various policies from time to time. Government mainly invests and intervenes in childcare policy primarily directed to universal services, for example in child health and education. There is a substantial gap in the child welfare system and the government interventions. Effective governance reduces the number of children who are at risk. Governance should also provide certain framework and policies and guidelines that facilitate deployment and engagement of people and resources to effectively respond to children who are at risk of child abuse and child neglect. All these policies have a general principle that all children should have their basic rights and should be protected from abuse and that the government of the region have the responsibility to prevent this harm to the children. Many governments form committees to provide the children with their basic need and prevent them from harm. These committees are often comprised of social workers., non-profit organisations, healthcare providers, childcare advocates and experts. These committees in collaboration with government and with collective efforts can greatly reduce the risk of child abuse and child neglect to vulnerable children.
Collins, M.E. (2018). Comparative analysis of state policymaking in child welfare: Explaining policy issues. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and practice, 20(4), 370-386.
Davidson, G. et. al. (2017). Child welfare as justice: why are we not effectively addressing equalities. British Journal of social work, 47(6), 1641-1651.
Dolan, P. & Frost, N. (2017). The Routledge handbook of global child welfare. New York: Routledge.
Haskins, R., Currie, J. & Berger, L.M (2015). Can states improve children’s health by preventing abuse and neglect. Retrieved from: www.childwelfare.gov
Kerns, S.E., et. al. (2016). Development and implementation of a child welfare workforce strategy to build trauma-informed system of support care. Sage journal of child maltreatment, 21(2), 135-146.
Mendes, P. & McCurdy, S. (2019). Policy and practice support for young people transitioning from out-of-home care: An analysis of six recent inquiries in Australia. Retrieved at: http://doi.org/10.1177.1468017319852702
Percora, P.J., Whittaker. J.K., Barth, R.P., Borja, S. & Vesneski, W. (2018). The child welfare challenge: Policy, practice and research. New York: Routledge.
Ringel, J.S. et. al. (2018). Improving child welfare outcomes. Rand Health Quarterly, 7(4), 5-9.
Tilbury, C., Hughes, M., Bigby, C. & Osmond, J. (2017). Social work research in the child protection field in Australia. The British Journal of Social Work, 47(1), 256-274.
Todahl, J., Barkhurst, P.D., Watford, K. & Gau, J.M. (2019). Child abuse and neglect prevention: a survey of public opinion toward community-based change. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 14(3), 277-295.
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