The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) has outlined key elements of its strategy for 2016 and launched a series of new initiatives to help non-government welfare agencies meet the needs of vulnerable children, young people and families amid NSW’s evolving child protection system.
ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum unveiled the 2016 strategy and its new range of supporting products and resources during the launch event which was held at Parliament House last night and attended by more than 120 representatives from across the NSW child and welfare sector.
Guest speakers included the Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard, NSW Children’s Guardian Kerryn Boland and Law and Justice Foundation of NSW Director, Geoff Mulherin.
“The NSW child protection system is undergoing a significant period of reform, with the new Safe Home for Life legislation providing a roadmap for improvement,” Mr McCallum said.
“Supporting the sector to effectively respond to these reforms is absolutely critical as we move into this new era of child protection, and ongoing quality learning and development remains a central ingredient to achieving this.
“The tools and resources being launched today are a reflection of ACWA’s ongoing commitment to filling this vital need.”
Among the new resources announced are:
- Fresh new ACWA and CCWT websites
- A workforce development framework for assessing and enhancing out-of-home care caseworker skills
- A Children’s Court training package for caseworkers
- A legal service scheme providing member agencies timely and reliable access to child protection law specialists
- A revised edition of ACWA’s reputed Step by Step carer assessment package that caters for the wider range of care options now applicable under the NSW Government’s new Safe Home for Life child protection laws (including adoption, kinship care and guardianship).
ACWA’s learning and development arm, the Centre for Community Training and Welfare (CCWT), also officially launched its 2016 Training Calendar which features a range of new courses and topics designed to equip the community workforce with the latest knowledge and new skills necessary to meet changing work within the new system.
Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said he wants all non-government and government agencies to do a lot better in achieving positive outcomes for children in care.
“ACWA and the other NGOs are critical to ensuring there is consistency and excellence across the sector,” Minister Hazzard said.
“Together we need to determine clear outcomes to be achieved, which I expect will include everything from education and health outcomes to achieving adoption and, when appropriate, restoration targets.
“We have a common goal and that is to put children at the centre of everything we do.”
The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies is the NSW non-government peak for organisations that provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.