National approach to child protection

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (National Framework) is a long-term approach to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children and aims to deliver a substantial and sustained reduction in levels of child abuse and neglect over time.

The National Framework is for Commonwealth, state and territory governments, non-government organisations, service providers and individuals with an interest in ensuring Australia’s children are safe and well.

An Evaluation of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (PDF) was commissioned by the Department of Social Services which provides information on the effectiveness of the National Framework as well as opportunities for a successor plan.

The ‘successor plan’ to the National Framework is currently in development and is a key national priority of state and territory Community Services Ministers’.

In November 2020, Ministers agreed in-principle to the proposed vision, goal, target cohort, including priority groups for the successor plan. 

Vision - Children in Australia reach their full potential by growing up in safe and caring homes, free from harm and neglect.

Goal - To make significant and sustained progress in reducing the rates of child abuse and neglect and its intergenerational impacts.

Target Cohort - Children and families who are experiencing disadvantage and/or are vulnerable.

The priority groups under the target cohort include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
  • children and families with multiple and complex needs
  • children and young people experiencing or who have experienced abuse and/or neglect, including children in out-of-home care, and young people leaving out-of-home care and transitioning to adulthood.

The successor plan will focus on measurable, tangible actions which benefit from collective effort and commitment from both the Australian and state and territory governments.

The development process for the successor plan agreed by Ministers includes co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders. The Successor Plan is intended to align closely with key priorities under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Endorsement and launch of the successor plan and the first five-year implementation plan is anticipated for the end 2021.

Other key national priorities include:

  • Finalising the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
  • Establishing the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

It is anticipated that the final National Strategy and its First National Action Plan will also be published in 2021.