Hello, I’m Cheryl Vardon, the Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission.
Hi, my name is Mark Henley, Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Council of Social Service.
In June last year your leaders met to develop a leadership commitment statement – something we could all sign up to.
A statement which would provide focus on the work that we all do to protect children.
And today I’d like to share this statement with you. Child protection is a very complex human endeavour – and it’s not perfect. We know we must do everything we can to keep children safe. But being safe is not enough. Our children deserve more. They must be more than safe.
Being More than safe is a lens which we can focus on your practice, your organisation and your specific actions to support vulnerable children and their families.
More than safe means spelling out your commitment, your connectedness and recognising that you have to be courageous.
For our children to be more than safe we must be committed. Commitment means that children, families and communities must be right at the centre of all that we do. In the busy-ness of our working lives we must keep sight of the child.
Ask yourself will this decision, this action, help this child to be more than safe? We must question the accepted ways of doing things and we must commit to make changes to do things better.
For our children to be more than safe we must be connected. We must work together in our roles in government and the non-government sectors and as individuals.
Children who aren’t safe will come into contact with many different services. We must be better at information sharing, better at co-operating to keep them more than safe and, importantly, break down those barriers.
Service providers must be connected to the whole community to reach all families. Effective services are inclusive and are willing to listen to what people need. That means getting out and amongst your communities.
For our children to be more than safe we must be courageous. And that means having the courage to face the challenges ahead and deal with them. Having the courage to change and not accept the status quo because that may not be working.
We must be open to doing things differently, open to questioning our practices, our policies and our procedures. Open to challenging the way we have always done things. A new leadership is needed to keep our children more than safe. We’re all responsible for keeping children more than safe.
As the Queensland Family and Child Commission oversees the implementation of the reform agenda; as we work with the sector – with you – and through our advocacy, policy, research and community education programs; and in the reviews we’re asked to perform and conduct; this commitment statement provides our focus point.
Will this decision, will this recommendation, project or action have the outcome that helps our children to be more than safe?
Now it’s up to you. Each of you and the organisations that you work within need to decide how you can embed the More than safe lens into your values and your actions.
For our children to be more than safe, we have to be the best that we can be… for them.