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This award recognises the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre’s collaboration with a law firm, Australian business, the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Government to provide the only free legal service dedicated to children, young people and their advocates in Australia.

The NCYLC leads reform in Children’s Law, hosts Lawmail and the website Lawstuff which provides information ranging from cyber and school bullying to forced child marriage, family violence, criminal law and discrimination at work.

Lawstuff is central to children’s identification of their problems, and provides them with suggestions for what to do about them, including linking them to a free, confidential service in Lawmail. Lawmail provides quality, timely and detailed legal and practical problem-solving assistance tailored to the individual circumstances of the child or young person involved.

The director of the NCYLC, Matthew Keeley, said that without collaboration from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, the University of New South Wales, King & Wood Mallesons, Telstra, and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission the Centre wouldn’t be able to help over one million people a year.

Pictured from left Rachel Delaney (Telstra), Noam Peleg (UNSW Law), His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Jane Farnsworth (KWM), Matthew Keeley (NCYLC), Joan Jardine (AGD), Thomas Hough (ASIC).

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Amrit Versha knew no one when she arrived in Australia 27 years ago. She has since committed herself to ensuring migrant women, children and families don’t feel alone but are supported, empowered and connected to their community.

The human rights advocate has worked with refugees for 25 years including managing several community organisations such as the former Auburn Migrant Resource Centre.

Previously she was a community program officer for the Department of Community Services, where she initiated the African Learning Circle.

Mrs Versha said that the Learning Circle is a strategy used to create dialogue, which in itself is a co-operative activity involving respect. It is a grassroots approach, which places families from migrant and refugee backgrounds at the centre, to strengthen their capacity and resilience.

“It works well because people’s feelings are validated and they are part of the solution, rather than being spoken at.”

Pictured Amrit Versha with His Excellency Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia.

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The Kids Helpline @ School program enables primary school students to learn more than reading, writing and arithmetic at school. It aims to support them to increase their mental health literacy, digital citizenship and help-seeking behaviour to promote their safety and wellbeing.

Each year, Kids Helpline sees an increase in the number of 13 to 18 year-olds contacting the service in a crisis situation. The Kids Helpline @ School (KAS) program aims to reduce the stigma of seeking help early on, proactively promoting early intervention and prevention to reduce the escalation of problems to crisis level.

Kids Helpline @ School is an innovative partnership between Optus and Kids Helpline. It proudly supports the community in being the only free, national service which brings professional counsellors into primary school classrooms via video technology (or phone).

Primary school students are given the opportunity to talk about things that are concerning them in a safe, fun and engaging classroom environment, with easy to understand language.

Pictured is the Minister for Social Services, Hon. Scott Morrison, The Kids Helpline General Manager, Wendy Protheroe, Senator Zed Seselja and year six students from the Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School. Kids Helpline received their National Play Your Part Award from the Hon. Scott Morrison at a special presentation to demonstrate the Kids Helpline @ School initiative in Canberra.

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The South Coast Child Wellbeing Network was formed under the ethos that Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business. The network joined together to promote the wellbeing and safety of children and young people as a community responsibility in an area with a significant number of vulnerable families.

The collaborators Family Services Illawarra, Barnardos, CareSouth, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong and Shoalhaven City Councils, Good Start Early Learning, Illawarra AMS, TAFE, Early Childhood Training and Resource Centre (ECTARC), NSW Department of Education, Illawarra Multicultural Service, Big Fat Smile and Family and Community Services work together in an equal partnership to host the annual Family Fun and Professional Development Days.

The events aim to raise awareness of the risks associated with poor outcomes for children within the Illawarra Shoalhaven and highlight strategies to improve those outcomes.

Around 50 families attend the Family Fun Day each year. The event is a soft entry opportunity, with all families in the area who have children from zero to five years invited to participate. The venues for the events are specifically chosen to improve access opportunities for vulnerable families.

The event features low-cost / no cost interactive play activities for children from play dough to musical instruments from recyclables,, in a supported and fun environment led by college and TAFE students. The families are also given a resource bag so they can replicate the play activities and prepare healthy meals at home.

Pictured are Johanne Sneddon and Samantha Lukey from the South Coast Child Wellbeing Network.

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The MPP focuses on educating migrant families to bridge the gaps between cultures and language, to prevent and combat child abuse, neglect and family and domestic violence.

The program encourages parents to keep their culture and enhance their engagement with the Australian community.

The MPP has for ten years assisted migrant and refugee parents to settle in their new country including addressing their concerns about the education curriculum and the different position of the school in the life of a child.

Pictured is Audrey Lai, the Chairperson of the Board of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service.



True Relationships and Reproductive Health (formerly Family Planning QLD) for the Wellness and Well Being Project

The Wellness and Well Being project has increased the overall well being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Rockhampton local government area, through initiatives such as the publication of stories by local Indigenous children to build the confidence, knowledge, communication skills and cultural understanding of children, their parents, carers and support workers.

Wellness and Well Being is a four pronged project for Indigenous children and their families in the Rockhampton Regional and Livingstone Shire Council districts. Each aspect is held annually, with the project having commenced in April 2013 and the most recent component held in April 2015. Each component was provided at no charge to the participants.

One of the components is the annual Indigenous Wellness and Well Being professional development/networking conference for local support organisations who work with Indigenous families. The keynote speaker in 2015 was, Aboriginal speaker and performer Jeremy Donovan descending from KuKu-Yalanji tribe. Up to 140 people in total attended the three annual conferences. Feedback from participants included: “Jeremy was truly a powerful speaker” and “all speakers were magnificent”.

Two story books were published, titled Ngathu Bimbi Bulba (My Safe Place) and Yimbagu Ngalirranga Gandanu (Listen to Us Kids), about personal safety featuring writing and art by local Indigenous children, and text in the Dharumbal language.

The storybook’s development included narrative art sessions for Indigenous students, aged 5-12 years, with Dharumbal elder and author, Nhaya Nyoka Hatfield and Indigenous Artist, Caroline Cox.

Pictured from left Anthony Walsh, Manager Regional Services and Projects, True Relationships and Reproductive Health, the Hon. Minister Shannon Fentiman MP, Alice Evans CEO True Relationships and Reproductive Health, Teresa Scott NAPCAN Board President and Angela Jegou NAPCAN National Services Manager.

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Mackay Child Friendly Community Action Group for Inspiring advocacy in promoting the safety and wellbeing of children.

The Mackay Child Friendly Community Action Group (MCFCAG) has demonstrated that ‘building a child friendly community is everybody’s business’ by forming a partnership between community-based agencies, local and state government to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and child protection super heroes.

Since 2008 the group has organised free, fun and educational opportunities for families and community members to come together and acknowledge the importance of Mackay being a safe and friendly place for children and families to live in.

Some of the activities that MCFCAG is involved in each year are for special weeks: Under 8’s, NAIDOC, Children’s, Seniors and Child Protection Week. They also promote child friendly communities for special days, such as for the ‘Day for Daniel’ the group hosted an outdoor movie night.

This year for Child Protection Week the group is ‘calling all heroes who promote the wellbeing and safety of children and young people’, said Jaime Pick, coordinator MCFCAG.

“We are celebrating that superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, ages, abilities, ethnicities, cultures, genders, religions and of course super powers. MCFCAG will have a number of free activities for families to enjoy such as face painting, jumping castles, Didgeridoo workshop, games and a mask and costume parade,” she said.

Pictured from left Jenny Corbett Mackay Child Friendly Community Action Group Committee Member, the Hon. Minister Shannon Fentiman MP, Teresa Scott NAPCAN Board President and Angela Jegou NAPCAN National Services Manager.

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The Penrose Young Parents Program helps young families to grow well together. The program supports young parents and women aged from 14 – 25 in their third trimester of pregnancy and their infant or toddler children.

Penrose offers informal family activities, case work support, group work and workshops alongside dedicated child development programs, operating from a suburban house, which is not threatening or clinical in nature. The ‘home like’ setting allows young families to interact in social, life skills and workshop programs that accommodate all aspects of being a young parent and responding to young children safely.

Examples of support include assisting anxious young fathers and mothers to learn how to hold and bathe their newborn infants; building confidence in all aspects of newborn care; encouraging ongoing education and training of young parents, including literacy development; and focussing on the language and literacy development of young children as well as social skill development outside the program into the community.

The program started in recognition of the isolation and stigma many young parents and soon-to-be parents experienced in the community. This isolation was made apparent when young parents participating in education and training programs often ceased attending or attended irregularly.

Pictured from left The Hon. Rachel Sanderson MP, Richard Cooke, CEO NAPCAN, Jo Vanstone, Team Leader, Penrose Young Parents Program, The Hon. Dr Susan Close MP Minister for Education Child Development, Elisabeth Kobierski National Community Services Manager, Boystown and Stephen Wales Regional Manager Adelaide Employment Education and Training, Boystown.

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Relationships Australia South Australia’s (RASA) Infant Massage Program develops the skills of parents to respond sensitively and appropriately to their babies.

Parents are taught how to have a “conversation” with their baby using healthy touch: how to use and adapt different massage strokes and routines for unsettled babies, incorporating eye-contact, facial expressions and voice into their interactions. The program is offered as a fun activity that supports and empowers parents to understand their baby’s unique cues and individual needs and adjust their interactions in response.

Designed for parents with a newborn (0-12 months), the program involves individual sessions and/or five once-a-week group sessions, shared between four to five families, supported by a trained instructor.

The first year of a child’s life presents a multitude of challenges for parents, including the ability to ‘tune in’ to their newborn. Being ‘tuned in’ is the means by which parents communicate with their baby.

Pictured from left The Hon. Rachel Sanderson MP, Richard Cooke, CEO NAPCAN, Deborah Lockwood Manager Child and Youth Programs, Relationships Australia SA, The Hon. Dr Susan Close MP Minister for Education Child Development and Jennifer Mobbs Treasurer Member of Board, International Association Infant Massage Australia.

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Anglicare WA (AWA) is committed to a child safe organisation strategy and built a child safe culture within their organisation. They are leading the sector in this area and working to assist other organisations to become child safe and friendly.

The organisation’s child safe strategy included a review and update of all their child protection policies by an external expert and training of all 450 staff and 350 volunteers in how to recognise child abuse and respond appropriately.

Tunya Petridis, Children’s Consultant, Anglicare WA said that building a culture that is safe for children and promotes their wellbeing is an ongoing process.

“We designed our own Charter of Children’s Rights based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in a beautiful poster format with native Western Australian animals,” she said.

At Anglicare WA, we believe all children need: good food to eat, a home and people who love you and your own beliefs and traditions, are some examples of the Charter’s messages.

Anglicare WA also produced resources including a children’s book: “You Have the Right to…” and videofeaturing children talking about their safety and rights, with the key message: “not only do we have to listen to children but we have to believe what they say and act on it”.

Pictured from left Ian Carter CEO Anglicare WA, Jenni Perkins, Acting Commissioner for Children and Young People, Caitie Glasson a participant in the “What Does Children’s Rights Mean to Me” project and Tunya Petridis Children’s Consultant Anglicare WA.

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Willowra Early Childhood Reference Group and the children of the Willowra community in partnership with World Vision Australia received a state Play Your Part Award for the Hearing Children’s Voices – Willowra Community initiative.

In 2014 the children of Willowra (a Warlpiri community in Central Australia) looked into the future – to their hopes, dreams and aspirations for their community through photos and paintings.

The children shared their depicted dreams with their families and community through an exhibition about their vision for the future.

Their dreams were for a community where: culture and country was strong, their children and their children’s children were safe and protected, their community sat down to talk about looking after kids and where children were going to school supported by family.

The children were given cameras and instructed to take photographs of what made them feel happy. They were then supported to discuss why they had taken the photograph and what they would like to communicate through the image.

The children were also encouraged to complete a series of paintings that explored their aspirations for keeping children happy, healthy and safe.

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An aboriginal elder Mr A Millren wrote a hand written letter to the Federal Government in 2005 about the youth of the Maningrida community, Arnhem Land region, Northern Territory, having no proper youth service to keep them occupied, which led to the establishment of “GREATS” Youth Services (GYS).

GYS aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young people aged 10 to 21 years in Maningrida and its surrounding outstations through services and programs that promote strong peer and family relationships; improving personal capacity, self-esteem, resilience and social connections.

The services include back to country bush trips for young men and women who have become disengaged from school, training and or employment. These bush trips give them time out from the community and provide a cultural learning class with elders to build on youth leadership and mentoring skills.

Education and awareness training is provided by GYS in healthy eating and personal care, conflict resolution, proper use of social media, cyber safety and bullying-prevention workshops. The service centre also delivers a ten session Mooditj program, which educates young people about sexual health, safety, wellbeing, relationships, feelings and emotions etc.

Education services further feature the sniffing and the brain Burarra flip chart, drug and alcohol intervention through workshops delivered in partnership with the Alcohol and other Drugs unit and suicide/ self-harm prevention. In the past three years Maningrida community has not been affected by any youth suicides. This is a significant achievement in a complex environment.

Pictured from left Emma, event youth co-host, Colleen Gwynne, Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner, representatives from ‘Greats Youth Service’ Paul ‘Djolpa’ McKenzie, Baby Biddy, Sebastian Mason, Norman Winter, Sabastian Young, Noeletta McKenzie and Jordan Wilson.

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The Relationship Things program empowers young people to develop and maintain safe, respectful and consensual relationships, with a focus on diversity and online respect.

The program delivered by YWCA Canberra aims to prevent sexual assault and gender-based violence. The eight-week program includes sessions on respect, gender equality, diversity, sexual health, consent, and respect in an online environment. Relationship Things provides young people with information on where to go to get help if they are experiencing violence, including all national and local support agencies.

Relationship Things is underpinned by two key theories: a gender analysis which acknowledges that violence against women is caused by gender inequalities, and primary prevention which aims to prevent violence before it occurs.

The focus on sexual diversity ensures that all young people can access the program and find it relevant to their experiences.

The website Relationship Things Online launched in August 2015, which features key information from the Relationship Things program including respect, communication, gender equality, diversity, safe sex and consent.

Pictured is Frances Crimmins, Executive Director, YWCA Canberra, Mr Alasdair Roy the ACT Children & Young People Commissioner and Dr Sue Packer AM, NAPCAN Board Vice President.

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‘Dad’s Place’ provides homeless fathers with a controlled, safe, homely environment, to spend quality access time with their children, which strengthens family connections, during a time of emotional stress from separation.

Canberra Fathers and Childrens Service (CanFaCS) manages a number of houses around Canberra, supporting homeless fathers and their children. One of those houses is used for the ‘Dad’s Place’ initiative.

For children to participate in the Dad’s Place Initiative the consent of their mother/guardian must be given, with the initiative operating in consultation with the mother or guardian and the relevant legal and judicial institutions.

All of the fathers have an appointed Family Worker (case worker) and the fathers are required to enter into dedicated case management procedures and protocols.

Pictured from left Michael Costigan, manager of CanFaCS with Mr Alasdair Roy the ACT Children & Young People Commissioner and Dr Sue Packer AM, NAPCAN Board Vice President.

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The ‘Respect me. Don’t sext me.’ resources are fun activities including board games, online e-postcards, story cards and activity sheets to educate young people about sexting.

The education pack, developed by the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) is designed for 11 to 14-year-olds and targets key behaviours that lead to sexting such as peer pressure, expectations and ignorance of possible outcomes. It addresses issues surrounding sexting such as the possible consequences of sexting including legal issues, and creating respectful relationships.

The pack aims to change young people’s perspective about sexting and includes online e-postcards to send instead of a sext, a fortune teller/chatterbox activity sheet and information for parents/carers and teachers that includes resources and activities. Two copies of the ‘Respect me. Don’t sext me’ pack were sent out to every secondary school in Victoria and an extra 1,300 packs have been sold.

Many young people see sexting as a way to flirt. It is also risk-taking behaviour which can, in some cases, have long-term consequences. A number of young people had been placed on the Victorian Sex Offenders Register for sending or receiving sexts. SECASA wanted to improve the understanding of young people about the risks of sexting. The pack was funded a couple of years ago by the Victorian Law Foundation.

Pictured from left The Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC MP Minister for Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs with Carolyn Worth, Manager of South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence and Richard Cooke, CEO NAPCAN.

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Community Bubs supports vulnerable babies and children to live safely in the care of their own families.

One of the mothers who participated in the program said that: “It rescued me from the system, … from a system of child protection, and assessments, all I needed was a break. My life is so different now, I married, I now have my four kids and run my own business.”

For more than 10 years Community Bubs has helped approximately 250 babies with a significant risk of child protection intervention and child removal, in the southern region of Melbourne. Typically these families were experiencing a lack of support, mental illness, drug dependency (parents and baby), social isolation, unemployment and disabilities.

Provided by the community agency Family Life, the program’s philosophy is of a whole-of-family, whole-of-community approach that respects culture and place, for strengthening families so children can thrive.

During 2013-14, the Community Bubs program helped 43 vulnerable families with 100 per cent of babies staying living safely with their families with the support of the community. See the video about Community Bubs.

Pictured from left The Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC MP Minister for Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs with Jo Cavanagh, CEO Family Life and Richard Cooke, CEO NAPCAN.

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To: Mission Australia, Good Beginnings, Hobart City Mission, Pittwater Community Centre and Jordan River Services for: Partnership Alliance delivering Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS)

The South East Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS) is a voluntary program that works with vulnerable children, young people and families across Tasmania to achieve positive results through tailored solutions.

IFSS, is an early intervention program, whose services are delivered through a collaborative alliance partnership that offer a flexible, person-centred approach. The alliance of agencies in the South East region consists of Mission Australia, Good Beginnings now part of Save the Children, Hobart City Mission, Pittwater Community Centre and Jordan River Services.

Supports include one on one weekly home visits with case workers, who work with families’ to meet their needs, practical outreach support and parenting skill development. IFSS workers meet with families to formulate plans to meet goals based on their desires and needs.

IFSS is a voluntary service focused on increasing the well-being and safety of children, young people and families by providing support and resources to build family strengths, resilience and capacity.

Pictured from left to right Trista Cocker, NAPCAN Senior Project Officer with her daughter, The Hon Jacquie Petrusma MP. Minister for Human Services, Kathryn Cranny, Southern Area Manager, Mission Australia, Denise Brazendale, Regional Leader, Mission Australia, Annette Clarke, Hobart City Mission, Donna Evans, Good Beginnings/Save the Children, Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner, Leesa Waters, Deputy CEO NAPCAN and Mark Morrissey, Tasmanian Commissioner for Children.

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