Protecting Australia's Children

Safe and Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021 2031

Safe & Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021 - 2031 (Safe & Supported: the National Framework) aims to ensure that children and young people in Australia have the right to grow up safe and supported, in nurturing and culturally appropriate environments.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework recognises that to achieve this aim, all Australians need to work together to keep children safe and to achieve the best outcomes for vulnerable children and those experiencing disadvantage.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework was developed by the Commonwealth, and state and territory government in partnership with SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Group.

Contributions were also made by Families Australia, a national peak body seeking to improve the wellbeing of Australian families, and members of the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing, a group comprised of non-government organisations and researchers.

Our shared goal is for Safe & Supported: the National Framework to make significant and sustained progress in reducing the rate of child abuse and neglect and its intergenerational impacts.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework will be implemented through two, 5-year Action Plans that will outline real measurable actions to support improved outcomes for children and families at-risk.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework also embeds the Priority Reforms of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap to transform how governments work to support improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework will be a key mechanism in responding to the Closing the Gap Target 12 to reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% over 10 years.

The best interests of the child are at the centre of Safe & Supported: the National Framework and its Action Plans. We are committed to ongoing meaningful engagement with children, young people, parents, carers and communities.

Listening to the voices of children will be key to our success.

Who is it for?

Safe & Supported: the National Framework sets out a national 10-year framework to improve the lives of children, young people and families experiencing disadvantage or who are vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework priority groups:

  1. children and families with multiple and complex needs
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people experiencing disadvantage or who are vulnerable
  3. children and young people and/or parents/carers with disability experiencing disadvantage or who are vulnerable
  4. children and young people who have experienced abuse and/or neglect, including children in out-of-home care and young people leaving out-of-home care and transitioning to adulthood.

How will it be delivered?

Safe & Supported: the National Framework will drive change through collective effort across governments and sectors that impact the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework will be delivered by 2 5-year Action Plans. For the first time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will have their own Action Plan developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives across the life of Safe & Supported: the National Framework.

These plans will describe the actions and outcomes needed to deliver sustained progress in reducing child abuse and neglect.

Together we will improve outcomes through actions in 4 focus areas:

  1. a national approach to early intervention and targeted support for children and families experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage
  2. addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems
  3. improving information sharing, data development and analysis
  4. strengthening the child and family sector and workforce capability.

Safe & Supported: the National Framework will align and interact with other national initiatives to support systemic change for Australian children, young people and families. Most importantly, it will have close linkages with the next National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children, recognising that the 2 issues are closely intertwined at all levels.

Safe & Supported will align with the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy.

The National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020

On 30 April 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the first National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009–2020 (the National Framework).

In response to the increasing number of Australian children who are being exposed to child abuse and neglect, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and the non-government sector, through the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing, are working together to implement a comprehensive national approach to protecting Australia’s children.

The National Framework outlines an ambitious, long-term national approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of Australia’s children. It aims to deliver a substantial and sustained reduction in levels of child abuse and neglect over time. The National Framework is being implemented through a series of action plans.

The Fourth Action Plan: 2018 – 2020

The Fourth Action Plan (2018-2020) under the National Framework was endorsed by Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers in December 2018.

The four key priorities of the Fourth Action Plan are:

  • Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children at risk of entering, or in contact with child protection systems.
  • Improving prevention and early intervention through joint service planning and investment.
  • Improving outcomes for children in out-of-home care by enhancing placement stability through reunification and other permanent care options.
  • Improving organisations’ ability to keep children and young people safe from abuse.

Key achievements under the Fourth Action Plan 2018-2020 include:

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ATSICPP) aims to keep children connected to their families, communities, cultures and country while ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participate in decisions about their children’s care and protection. SNAICC – National Voice for our Children developed a Guide to Support Implementation of the ATSICPP. Based on the new resource, SNAICC held workshops with state and territory government child protection practitioners and policy makers, to support better implementation of the Child Placement Principle.

The Third Action Plan: 2015–2018

The Third Action Plan (2015–2018) under the National Framework was endorsed by Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers in October 2015.

Three strategies are included in the Third Action Plan:

  1. early intervention, with a focus on the early years — particularly the first 1,000 days for a child
  2. helping young people in out-of-home care to thrive in adulthood
  3. organisations responding better to children and young people to keep them safe.

There are two cross-cutting focus areas:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families
  • research and reporting under the Third Action Plan.

Key achievements under the Third Action Plan 2015–2018 include:

The Second Action Plan: 2012–2015

The (Second Action Plan 2012–2015) under the National Framework was endorsed by Commonwealth, state and territory governments in 2012. The Second Action Plan emphasised the need to develop local partnerships to deliver local solutions, recognising that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach does not work across Australia’s diverse communities. Implementation of the second three-year action plan has been completed.

Key achievements under the Second Action Plan 2012–2015 include:

The First Action Plan: 2009–2012

The First Action Plan (2009-2012) under the National Framework was endorsed by Commonwealth, state and territory governments in 2009. Implementation of the first three-year action plan has been completed.

The First Action Plan outlined 12 National Principles that focused action by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the non-government sector during the first three years of the National Framework. In 2010, Ministers identified Working with Children Checks as an additional National Priority.

Key Achievements under the First Action Plan 2009-2012 include:

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