What is the Issue?
While there are encouraging governmental and community initiatives, child abuse and neglect continue to rise across Australia. The financial burden of existing family support and intervention programs is unsustainable. Playgroup Australia supports the call by Families Australia for the development of a comprehensive new strategy to succeed the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. Such a national policy agenda should go beyond child protection and give strong priority to early prevention with a focus on enhancing the wellbeing of children, families and communities experiencing the greatest vulnerability.
Why is this important for Communities?
- A national policy for child wellbeing which adequately supports playgroups would relieve the financial pressure placed on families in need by providing a network of support.
- Play services offer opportunities for social interaction with the wider community and supports the development of a greater sense of community spirit, promoting social cohesion.
- Family support services are increasingly recognised as playing a critical role in assisting families and minimising or complementing statutory child protection intervention.
- Community programs offer parents a sense of security through playgroups that offer a happy, safe and supported environment, supporting improved mental health.
- Playgroups relieve the burden of seeking additional service support by informing and connecting families with appropriate service providers.
- Vulnerable and at-risk families are strengthened when they are identified early and are provided with appropriate services and supports to meet their needs.
- Social support and sharing experiences supports better parenting and improved outcomes for children, resulted in healthier, happier children.
Playgroup Australia Proposes
Playgroup Australia calls for this strategy to value play as a fundamental right of all children and to adequately resource playgroup as a vital building block of child, family and community wellbeing.