E-mail: contact@napcan.org.au    |    Phone: 02 8073 3300   
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5-11 SEPTEMBER 2021


Theme: Every child, in every community, needs a fair go.

To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy. 


The 2021 theme for National Child Protection Week is all about the importance of the ‘bigger picture’ in addressing child abuse and neglect.

Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well.

But not every family has these resources.

This is why we need to support every child, family and community according to their needs.

This will create a healthier, fairer Australia for all children.

A lot of great research is helping us understand more and more about what children need to thrive.

Child Protection Week 2021 will be an opportunity to translate this knowledge into action. All skillsets, all people, and all communities are assets in this important endeavour.

Let’s make sure our neighbourhoods have strong foundations for families and children – jobs, safe places, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools, child care, affordable housing, health services, social activities, clubs, friendly neighbours, businesses and more.

Many of you are already playing your part every day – as individuals, as community members, as volunteers and as workers – to help create these great communities for children.

When we do this together we can give
every child, in every neighbourhood, a fair go’.

Note: This year’s theme is based on the framing research for the Core Story for Early Childhood Development and Learning.

Why environment matters … toxic stress

Minor, everyday stresses are a healthy part of child development, but major stressors can have a long-term effect on children’s brain development and even on their physical health. Severe adversity that lasts over long periods of time can send the body’s stress systems into permanent high alert, flooding the body’s vital organs and the brain with stress hormones. This ‘toxic stress’ response can derail healthy development and has even been linked to adult health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

The environment in which a child lives can be the source of significant stress or support for children. For instance, living in a community with not enough jobs, with poverty, or with high rates of abuse and violence creates stress that can stop children from getting a strong foundation for life. 

When we address these root causes of stress, we create healthier communities for everyone, particularly children. 

Further, research tells us there is a powerful source of protection against the long-term negative effects of adversity on children. What is it? Stable, supportive relationships with caring adults. These relationships actually buffer them from toxic stress, softening and moderating the biological stress response. 

Providing every family and community with the robust system of supports they need, has tremendous power to build these critical relationships between children and caring adults.

This is one of the most important investments we can make.