LOCAL: ‘It Takes A Village’ – protecting our most vulnerable

08 September 2016
Reading time2 mins

Child Protection Week is something that, when it comes around, I feel hugely mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s essential that we have initiatives in place to protect our most vulnerable, and it’s vital to raise awareness. But on the other, I find it such a sad indictment on our world that we need them in the first place.

But heartbreaking stories such as the tragedy of Mason Lee seem to be on the rise, so breaking this cycle and reversing this terrifying trend is absolutely imperative for our future generations.

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services received over 22,000 notifications in 2014-2015 across Queensland. A notification is recorded when child protection information received suggests a child needs protection.

Yet, as SunnyKids – a Sunshine Coast children’s charity that provides thousands of nights of crisis accommodation to victims of family and domestic violence every year – tells us, research shows that if the family and the child receive help before this situation reaches a crisis stage, there is a good chance of positive outcomes. So there is a clear need for early intervention and prevention.

SunnyKids CEO and Founder Chris Turner said, “When a child ends up in care there is a strong chance that there has been many years of crisis that preceded this outcome. SunnyKids works to increase protective factors so children never have to enter care.”

He continued, “We need to have an awareness around issues of child abuse and neglect in our community and stand together to support at risk kids. This whole of community approach can lift up these children and offer them the help they need to reach their full potential. We partner with over 140 local organisations to do just that. We believe ‘It Takes a Village’ to raise a child, we want the Sunshine Coast to be the community that can boast that every child is heard and helped.”

Making sure kids in the community are heard, led to the launch of the SunnyKids Local Child Support Program, which provides the platform for us – the local community – to be a part of that village and support those disadvantaged children in their own backyard.

“We have had great response, we have families who have sponsored a child as they want their children to be aware that there are kids on the Sunshine Coast doing it tough. We also have groups of work colleagues, networking groups and businesses as sponsors. We need to come together as a community and work to break these intergenerational cycles to ensure the protection of the kids in our community.” Chris Turner said.

For more information, visit SunnyKids at www.sunnykids.org.au

Written by

Angela Sutherland

After spending over 20 years on the editorial desks of some the leading magazine publishing houses of London and Sydney, Angela swapped the city frenzy for a Queensland sea change. Now owner and editor of Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City, she loves spending her days documenting and travelling the crazy road of family life alongside every mum and dad. 

When she’s not at her desk buried in magazine stories, you’ll often find her entrenched in a heated game of beach cricket, or being utterly outrun by her inventive seven-year-old and rambunctious threenager.

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