Call for more to be done for children at risk
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Call for more to be done to intervene in the lives of children at risk, from a young age

Call for more to be done to intervene in the lives of children at risk, from a young age

by Freya Lucas

February 27, 2024

Fams, a peak body for child and family intervention in New South Wales, has called for more to be done to support children and families at risk, and for this intervention to happen earlier.


The call has been made as the NSW Government prepares the 2024-23 Budget, with Fams CEO Susan Watson saying “we’ve seen the Government make vital investments into addressing the acute end of child protection,” but that it is “imperative to recalibrate this focus by allocating more resources to early intervention and prevention services.”


“Early intervention and prevention services have not seen a funding increase in over 10 years,” Ms Watson continued. 


“We are calling on the Minns Government to increase funding by 25 per cent across early intervention and prevention programs, with a focus on Aboriginal children and families” she added.


“The evidence is clear that early intervention is highly effective. We’re calling on the NSW Government to invest in a new evidence-based parenting program, smalltalk. It’s a low-cost, high-impact opportunity to support positive parenting change and improve early childhood outcomes.”


Fams said the program is being delivered successfully in 388 locations across Victoria. A three-year randomised trial showed that participation in the program resulted in increased parenting confidence and improvements in children’s learning and developmental outcomes, lasting into school years.


“The 2023 Australian Child Maltreatment Study produced sobering statistics. Two in three participants reported that they had experienced at least one form of abuse or neglect before they were 18 years old,” Ms Watson said.


“These statistics cannot be ignored. We want to see the Government take action to ensure these numbers do not continue in NSW.”


“Fams recommends that the NSW Government establish a state-based government and sector taskforce to meet quarterly. We want to see the development of an action-oriented plan with clear lines of accountability.”


“This is all about rebalancing the system, sustaining and growing the early intervention response, and helps to prevent children in NSW from falling into crisis.”

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