Community services

Strengthening families and keeping children safe

The ACT Government has launched Next Steps for Our Children 2022-2030: ACT Strategy to Strengthen Families and Keep Children and Young People Safe (Next steps) on Friday, June 3.

Next steps describes how the ACT government, together with its partners and the community, will focus on strengthening families and improving the well-being of children and young people.

The strategy is an ambitious reform agenda that sets out the principles, priorities and elements we will use to bring about change to our child protection and out-of-home care system.

Through Next steps our goal will be to provide more widely available and earlier support services to families, youth and children in need.

One of the most important priorities is to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who interact with the legal child protection and juvenile justice systems.

Concrete initiatives identified for implementation over the 8-year lifespan of the strategy include:

  • Develop Aboriginal Community Controlled Organizations (ACCOs) and transfer responsibility for case management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • Establish best practice internal and external processes for reviewing child protection decisions.
  • Improve early referral and family access to community supports.
  • Increase access to prenatal and early parenting support for parents at risk of child protection engagement.
  • Integrate family decision-making, including family group conferencing, for all families, as appropriate.
  • Extend support to any young person who requests it up to the age of 21.

Next steps does not specify how the strategy will be implemented. The ACT government is committed to co-designing and developing action plans with service users and government and non-government service providers.

The strategy was developed based on extensive consultation with people with lived experience of the system and an assessment of the results A step forward for our childrenthe previous strategy which extended from 2015 to 2020.

Outcomes for many children and families have improved over the past 7 years, including fewer children entering home-based care and more children, young people and families receiving care services. family support.

Next steps build on our progress to ensure that all children and young people grow up strong, safe and connected, including when in care or at risk of care.Aerial view of next steps at launch

Page updated: June 03, 2022