This week is National Child Protection week and we at VACCA are taking the opportunity to raise awareness of children’s safety and wellbeing and encourage the community to continue to work together to protect our children, provide safe communities and understand that even small actions can have a big impact on our children’s welfare.
We do not forget that it is because of Aboriginal community action that 20 years ago the Human Rights Commission released its report into its Inquiry into the removal of our children from their families. It is also because of our community vigilance we have continually sought to address the state of our children’s rights. The numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care across Victoria and Australia have never been higher and we need to be continue our advocacy for change.
Government’s and other non-government organisations need also to play their part in addressing this situation.
At VACCA every day we continue our vision that all Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities are thriving—culturally strong, empowered and safe. And whilst VACCA’s reach in the community today is significant with approximately 350 staff members who are dedicated to running more than 50 programs across the state, it’s only with the support of the whole community that we can achieve best possible outcomes for our children and families.
At VACCA we believe that for our children to grow into strong adults they need to be supported to learn about, maintain and grow in their knowledge to connection to land, family, community and culture. And this week we aim to continue to draw awareness to the National Child Protection Week campaign slogan ‘we all play a part’.
Playing a part means being a good role model, taking the time to listen to our children, learning about what services are available to support families and children, looking out for children (not just our own) and remembering not to judge other parents and families. And for our team at VACCA it also means embedding our culture into everything we do.
Throughout the year to come, in-line with the Victorian Government’s commitment to advancing self-determination, we look forward to the transfer of care and case management of Aboriginal children from government and non-Aboriginal organisations to Aboriginal organisations and the commencement of Aboriginal Guardianship, known as the VACCA Nugel program (formerly Section 18).
The transition and reforms are designed to meet the best interests of Aboriginal children so they grow up strong and connected to their culture and we welcome these exciting and positive advancements for Aboriginal people in Victoria.
VACCA would also like to congratulate all the people from our sector (and in particular the VACCA team members) who have been nominated for the Victorian Protecting Children Awards, formerly the Robin Clarke Protecting Children’s Awards, that recognise the dedication of team and individuals in our sector.
To find out more about how you can #playyourpart visit http://napcan.org.au/ncpw/