Media Release: Child Protection to Go Under the Spotlight at ACWA National Conference

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) will welcome more than 700 child and family welfare experts, human services workers, researchers and advocates from across the globe when the child and family welfare peak opens its 18th national conference in Sydney next week.

Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard will officially open the three-day conference, Pathways to Protection and Permanency: Getting it Right for Children, Young People and Families on Monday, August 15. The event is being co-hosted by the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The conference will examine the experiences of children and young people in care, showcasing emerging research, as well as policy and practices that are leading to better outcomes for this vulnerable population. The topics will cover all areas of the child protection and family services spectrum including early intervention, family restoration, open adoption and care leaver support.

 The program features the following line-up of internationally renowned keynotes:

  • Professor Ferran Casas, from Spain’s University of Gerona, will speak about the emerging research field of children’s subjective wellbeing and the important revelations this data can uncover for child protection researchers.
  • Professor Brigid Daniel, Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling (UK), will explore the challenges facing child protection workers in responding to child neglect.
  • Professor Judy Sebba, Director of the Rees Centre for Research on Fostering and Education at the University of Oxford (UK), will explore the burning question of how to improve the educational outcomes of young people in care.
  • Dr Mary Beek, from the University of East Anglia (UK), will share details of her research into how foster carers are helping children placed into their long-term care to feel loved, valued and fully part of the family.
  • Professor Julie Selwyn, who leads the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies at the University of Bristol (UK), will discuss issues associated with adopting children who have been removed into care because of maltreatment.

Other guest speakers will include Justice Peter McClellan, who is Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell, and UNSW President and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.

ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum said the national gathering will generate critical discussion around some of the hard questions associated with child protection, including strategies to help address the devastating and long-lasting effects of abuse and neglect on the lives of children and young people.

“All children deserve a safe and secure life, and the best way to do this is to prevent abuse and neglect in the first place,” Mr McCallum said.

“However, when adverse events do propel children into the child protection system then we need to respond in ways that will help them heal and give them every opportunity to grow and thrive in permanent, stable, loving homes.”

Download the full conference program:

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies is the NSW peak body representing non-government organisations that provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.

Media opportunities
International keynote speakers will be available to speak with the media.

Media contacts
Conference spokesperson: Andrew McCallum   0409 221 414
Other media enquiries:       Libby McCalman       0418 659 525