NSW launches new task force to protect vulnerable children
The New South Wales Government has launched a new Child and Wellbeing Taskforce, which will bring together NSW Government agencies and non-government sector leaders to develop a plan for the transition out of the COVID-19 related lockdown currently being endured by NSW citizens.
Announced this morning by NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens, the Child Wellbeing Taskforce will include representatives from the Department of Communities and Justice, Department of Education and sector peak organisations, and will initially focus on promoting awareness of child abuse and neglect to all frontline workers, improving access to digital devices and internet for at-risk families and enhancing support for young people exiting out-of-home care.
“When it comes to protecting children, everybody has a role to play, and this Taskforce will ensure a coordinated effort to improve services and support for those most vulnerable,” Mr Henskens said.
“We’ve worked hard throughout the lockdown to ensure continuity of services and support for at-risk children, but we also recognise that this difficult time may have adversely affected some children and young people.
The Taskforce, he continued, will develop a plan for the road ahead that focuses on the wellbeing of children and young people as NSW transitions out of lockdown.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell highlighted the role that educators play in the child protection system.
“As frontline workers, it’s important teachers know what to look out for and how to respond when they see something that is not right,” she said.
“The NSW Government is taking a holistic approach to supporting children during this difficult time, mental health and wellbeing support is also front and centre for students.”
Commenting on the announcement Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) CEO Steve Kinmond said ACWA was pleased to support the NSW Government’s establishment of the taskforce.
“We have no doubt that only a strong partnership between government agencies and the non-government sector will deliver the best outcomes for vulnerable children and families,” Mr Kinmond said.
“In order to enhance the educational opportunities for vulnerable children, we need educators, community service agencies and other key stakeholders, to work in lockstep with each other, in providing all children with the best education possible, both during COVID-19 and beyond.”
The Child Wellbeing Taskforce will meet for the first time next week.
To access the announcement, please see here.