The role of the Australian government in child protection
The Australia Institute of Health and Welfare Report, Child protection Australia, 2008-2009 reported that 34,000 children were moved from their parents and placed in out-of-home care (Narushima, 2010). The number was an increase of 9% from the previous year. The report also noted that compared to non-indigenous children, indigenous aboriginal children were 7 times more likely to be abused, and even more likely to be placed in out-of-home care (Narushima, 2010). Moreover, the report noted that while boys were likely to suffer physical abuse, girls were likely to suffer sexual abuse.
In response to these developments, the Australian community services minister Jenny Macklin announced that the federal government was setting national standards on child protection. The minister noted that currently, each state and territory had its own child protection policies, regulations and standards which leads to contradictions and therefore compromises the quality of child protection in different states and territories.
The minister emphasized the need for the federal government to establish standards to be applied as benchmarks to ensure all children receive care “no matter where in Australia they live.” The government aims at ensuring that children live in safe and secure environments regardless of their gender, age or background. In line with these, the government has collaborated with institutions such as the University of South Australia to establish the Australian Centre for Child Protection. The institutions help in the formulation of strategies as well as develop evidence-based approaches to prevent child abuse. The institutions seek best practices to prevent child abuse especially in highly populated areas (Narushima, 2010).
The government ought to offer child protection services. It is the constitutional right of children to receive adequate healthcare, education, housing, nutrition among others (Commission on Social Justice, 2000). The government should therefore, protect the children as a primary measure in upholding these very fundamental human rights. Though parents and guardians are the custodians of children in most societies, the government can present the benchmark standards to be adhered by all custodians. This is because the government has the resources and the legal mechanisms to enhance adherence to children rights (Latham, 2001). The government has the resources in terms of land and funds to support the homeless, and the disadvantage in society. In the same manner the government supports the disadvantaged adults, so should it support child protection.
Child protection justifies tax-payer funded support and cannot be wished away as a personal issue. Child abuse causes far-reaching problems in the lives of victims such as difficulty forming relationships, educational difficulties, physical health problems, behavioral problems and serious mental problems, (Dalton, Draper, Weeks & Wiseman, 1996). In fact, child abuse has been blamed for lifetime problems such as violence and criminal tendency, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, high-risk sexual behavior, the likelihood for victims to abuse their own children among others (Commission on Social Justice, 2000). As such, the government must accept responsibility and provide assistance to decimate child abuse to not only cut future expenditure on social activities, but also secure the welfare of future generations.
The setting of benchmark standards to be adhered to by all stakeholders involved in child care shall drastically minimize child abuse cases and ensure that the rights of children are upheld by all. Societies and governments which highly uphold support child protections are bound to have their members enjoy high quality lives. A high number of people from these societies are able to live normal lives devoid of emotional turmoil and can thus exploit their full potential to develop not only themselves, but also the country’s economy. Government support of child protection also sees social evils such as crime and drug abuse dwindle. This minimizes government expenditure on social welfare and ensures economic sustainability of the countries.
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Narushima, Y. 2010. Child abuse cases rise in Australia. Retrieved from: