With a diverse range of non-government organisations (NGOs) providing services to children, young people and their families, the non-government sector plays a key role in child protection and wellbeing. This can vary from identifying and reporting or responding to and meeting the needs of child protection situations.
Staff from the non-government sector who work with children and young people are required to report suspected risk of significant harm. This is through the use of the online Mandatory Reporter Guide to the Child Protection Helpline.
NGOs are autonomous bodies who frequently work collaboratively with government and other organisations when addressing child wellbeing concerns.
- respond to child wellbeing and protection concerns through referral ,reporting and service delivery
- inform children and young people of their rights to be protected from abuse or neglect and of the avenues for support available to them
- provide care and support services to children, young people and their families
- promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people in their agency
- provide non-discriminatory, culturally appropriate services in accordance with the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977
Services and programs
Most NGOs have links to at least one peak body that provides advice and advocacy services on behalf of their members. Many peak bodies also have listings of services and networks in there particular industry sector. In regards to Keep Them Safe, peak bodies also have an important advisory role in relation to implementation of the reforms.
Some of the non-government peak bodies include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Sector Advisory Group Inc (ATSIECSAG)
- Aboriginal Child Family and Community Care Secretariat (AbSec)
- Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)
- Child Care NSW
- Community Child Care Co-operative
- Community Connections Solutions Australia
- CREATE Foundation
- Early Childhood Australia (NSW Branch)
- Ethnic Child Care, Family & Community Services Co-op
- Foster Parent’s Support Network
- Homelessness NSW
- Mobile Children’s Services Association
- Network of Community Activities
- NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS)
- NSW Family Day Care Association
- NSW Family Services
- NSW Women’s Refuge Movement
- Occasional Care Association of NSW
- Youth Accommodation Association
- Youth Action and Policy Association NSW (YAPA)
Support services for families provide prevention, early intervention and child protection work with the whole family, and are designed to prevent family breakdown. Services include counselling, advocacy and referral, group activities (such as courses to develop skills in parenting, self-esteem, communication, building and maintaining relationships, play skills for parents and children, money management and household management), activities for children, self-help groups and information about resources available for families. Family workers adopt a person centred, strength based approach to building on the existing skills of family members.
Children’s services support parents and parenting by providing early childhood development for children up to the age of six years in long day care, pre-school, occasional care and family day care and before and after school care. Services may also work directly with children who have suffered abuse or neglect.
Services for people with disability provide a range of services for children and young people with a disability, and their families and carers including case management, behaviour support and therapy, as well as early childhood services for children 0-6 years old. In addition, families may access respite care (including in-home, host family and centre-based services), support and education groups, and counselling services. For young people, services may also include day program, training and employment support services. Disability advocacy services provide information, advice and support to children and young people with disabilities and their families to enable them to make informed decisions. They act to promote and protect the rights and interests of children and young people with disability and their families.
Services for homeless people provide people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, with a range of interventions including outreach, counselling, case management, accommodation, advocacy and living skills development through the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA). NAHA is Australia's primary response to homelessness and is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the state and territory governments. In New South Wales NAHA is jointly funded by Community Services and the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. People assisted include families, single adults, young people, and women and children affected by domestic violence. The key goals are to resolve crisis; re-establish family links where appropriate; and re-establish the capacity of clients to live independently.
Support services for young people offer children and young people support and run programs that reach out to vulnerable children and young people, such as drop-in centres, youth health services, specialist youth services, counselling and support, mediation in crisis intervention to assist in averting family breakdown, child and adolescent sexual assault counselling services, advocacy, outreach, street work, recreational activities and group work and activities.
Advocacy and representative organisations provide an avenue for sections of the community to have their views and opinions heard in decisions that affect them. Often these services provide opportunities for participation and volunteering for their target group. Some groups focus on individual advocacy, whilst others undertake peak body functions to represent the interests of their target communities at the systemic level (e.g. CREATE Foundation and YAPA)
- Keep Them Safe and interagency collaboration
- Legislation governing child protection and child wellbeing services
- Roles and responsibilities
- Exchanging information
- Making a child protection report
- Responding to a child wellbeing concern or child protection report
- Engaging children, young people and families
- Prevention and early intervention strategies
- Guide to court processes involving children and young people
- Case management