The NSW government has announced an important funding boost for the most vulnerable children in the state.
The 'Keep Them Safe' child protection and wellbeing initiative will receive a $342 million funding boost over the next two years, as outlined by the Minister for Family and Community Service Gabrielle Upton.
Ms Upton said to was important to continue supporting reforms recommended by Justice Wood's 2008 Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in the state.
"This commitment is particularly important to our partner non-government organisations that are a critical part of delivering real outcomes on the frontline of child protection and wellbeing," she said.
"This $342 million commitment will ensure that vulnerable children and families continue to receive support while a comprehensive evaluation of Keep Them Safe is completed."
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, domestic abuse (in particular child abuse) is on the rise in NSW. Since a low in 2004-2005 of 15,493 cases, it peaked in 2006-2007 at 37,094 before settling around the 23,000 mark in recent years.
These figures are by far the highest in the country and something the state desperately needs to sort out.
The funding boost, which is well more than the $35 million promised as part of the child protection reforms in November, will ensure that the care and protection for children around the state, Ms Upton said.
"The NSW Government, through these programs, wants to ensure vulnerable children receive fast, efficient and appropriate referral services that are more easily accessible in times of emergency," she said.
"Caring and protecting children is a heavy responsibility and the NSW Government is seeking to ensure this responsibility is met in the best possible way."
The funding will assist subsidiaries of the 'Keep Them Safe' which include the Child Wellbeing Units within Health, Police and Education and Communities. It will also help set up the Family Referral Services.
Warning signs of abuse
It is important to be aware of some of the behaviours from children which might suggest they are being abused or are at risk.
- Always withdrawn or anxious around people
- Extremes of behaviour
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Flinches or shies away from touch
- Makes efforts to avoid specific people
Once a child has been taken out of the dangerous situation, it is important to contact a family lawyer. As well as providing support to the child, they can give legal advice to the family and help get them through this difficult time.