It takes a Community to keep a Child Safe


Childrens Week Fun Day-15

In this industry we throw around a lot of buzz words and phrases like “person centred” and “wrap around support”. Sometimes it can be hard to translate these concepts into practise, we are after all just human working in a very busy and challenging industry. These ideas often require high levels of awareness, reflective practise and mindfulness to fully embody.

On an industry level it becomes even harder due to the complex and differing funding frameworks that dictate the focus of our work. This can lead to situations where connections between various services supporting a family are not made and more concerning where families are pulled in different directions by different service agendas. We cannot therefore see concepts around person centred work embodied without good partnerships because how do you form a ring or web or net or –insert clever analogy here- of support around a client without strong networks, service knowledge and partnership.

In the Cranebrook community there is some great examples of this in practice. One such example is the Keeping Them Safe group that meets quarterly – An initiative of NCNS where schools, HSLO’s, alternative education, community workers, community members, FaCS and casework teams all come together under the 16A information sharing legislation to flag and discuss children who there is significant concern for. Individually we have parts of the puzzle but together we can get a much more complete picture of individual family situations and discuss how best to support a family in need and keep children safe through the most appropriate interventions.

If the family are currently receiving a service the agency who are working with the family directly can share the family’s wishes and goals and also provide some updates on the current situation to the broader group so other organisations can be on the same page in their contact with the family. The group can also plan the best approach for families that have children at risk. The Keeping Them Safe meeting is helping ensure residents of Cranebrook and the surrounding areas are placed directly at the centre of any planned or current intervention in a way that is the least intrusive and most productive to family safety and wellbeing.

Author: Gareth Houghton
Team Leader – Youth Hope
Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services

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