Child Protection and Vulnerable Families: Trends and Issues in the Australian Context

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George Washington University
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Child welfare services are designed to make sure children are not neglected. They ensure families have support to take good care of the children. Over the years the services have evolved to cater for all the aspects of children`s life.

In the mid-19th century there ware institutions like universal schooling, boarding systems and industrial school to cater for the children and families as evidence of state involvement. At this time the levels of child neglect, deprivation and mortality rates were very high. These children were living under very unfavorable conditions which led to the development of children moving away from the institutions to working class families. These working class families were in form of family based on children care. (Elizabeth, 2014).Due to neglect and abuse of children in the institutions, foster care development was established as an alternative form for child care. In the late nineties children`s courts with crime jurisdiction and care were established to enact legislation for the protection of children. The state had to intervene due to publicized inquiries on the number of children death and high levels of child abuse. Selected professionals in some jurisdictions must report any suspicion of child abuse. A differential response model is a development aimed at offering multiple ways to address needs of families and children. This is achieved by assessments carried out without intervention of the state. This enables in prioritizing resources and focusing on severe cases. The welfare systems have partnered with other services that are not directly related to it to child welfare to cater for the wellbeing of the children by offering mental and physical health and education services. They also offer preventive services to promote the wellbeing of children.


Elizabeth Fernandez (2014) Child Protection and Vulnerable Families: Trends and Issues in the Australian Context. Retrieved on 25th October 2017. file:///C:/Users/hp/Downloads/socsci-03-00785.pdf

Portrayals of Child Abuse Scandals in the Media in Australia and England: Impacts on Practice, Policy, and Systems

The media has a great role to play in the child welfare services since it ensures the problem is known to the public domain. It has a positive impact since raises awareness to trends like program reforms which are ongoing and the increase in resources meant to cover the child welfare. This awareness by the media could also have a negative impact putting into consideration stakeholders interests and their multifaceted relationships.

The media omits many details on the issue of child welfare. It focuses on the criminal matters relating to especially sexual abuse. They tend to focus on these abusers which bring fear to the society of risks that surround their children. (Lonne, & Parton 2014). The voice of the important parties being the children and parents is not present in these situations. They also do not focus on the details of policies and practices for reform agendas of the welfare.

The media might do selective coverage of the problem due to fear of public reactions. They become sensitive to the criticisms from the public and hence do not release information for the publics knowledge. Instead of helping them, the media aims at blaming and punishing the errant parents of neglect and abuse. (Lonne & Parton, 2014) The media impact should be to change the community by informing them of risky behaviors instead of demonizing the parents. Different government agencies compete for the increase of resources to meet the high demand of service delivery. Information delivered by the media increase the competition of resources between foster rivalries public services and distrust.

Negative media information involves pain mainly to the casualties and this affects their confidence and morale. On the positive side it is followed by increase of resources and public reputation.

The media should cover the issues of child welfare in depth and clear details to make the public understand that it also has positive impacts and can go a long way in helping families. Reference

Lonne, Bob & Parton, Nigel (2014) Portrayals of Child Abuse Scandals in the Media in Australia and England: Impacts on Practice, Policy, and Systems. Retrieved on 25th October 2017.

Collaboration, Competition, and Coopetition: Inter-organizational Dynamics between Private Child Welfare Agencies and Child Serving Sectors

Public and private agencies collaborate with human service agencies to provide services to the children and families. This is an added advantage since the organizations come together and share responsibilities for the good of the welfare. However there is also competition for funding, clientele and qualified staff between these partners. This competition is most likely to undermine the collaboration if it is not strategically managed. Child welfare system must collaborate with child-serving agencies in order to meet the needs of families and children involved in the child welfare system.

This collaboration entails co-locating services, pooling of human resources and case planning with individuals from other agencies. This pooling of efforts and resources among these competing child-serving agencies creates efficient delivery of the services needed and administration. This also expands accessibility and availability of services meant for children and their families. (David & Shattuk, 2014).Partners are able to share information to make sure both parties have complete updated information about their clients. This information helps them align the administrative functions and operational infrastructure by sharing the responsibilities and resources meant for the child welfare. Demand for the limited resources brings about competition between multiple organizations. However competing agencies are not likely to collaborate. When they collaborate there is a high risk of partnership: whereby influence over the shared resources resulting to loss of independence. If one partner gains administrative control, one partner may have control over the other hence exposing vulnerabilities and reducing the agency competitive advantage.

Taking into account the benefits and risks of these collaborations, the main issue is whether the agencies are working towards the benefit of the welfare or the benefit of their individual organizations.


Alicia C. Bunger(2014) Collaboration, Competition, and Co-opetition: Interorganizational Dynamics Between Private Child Welfare Agencies and Child Serving Sectors.Retrieved on 25th October 2017

Trends in Childrens Exposure to Violence, 2003 to 2011

There has been a significant decline in the child assault and abuse over the years. One of the factors leading to this decline is the growth and dissemination of interventions and prevention strategies which are meant to reduce children victimization and violence. School-based prevention program is an example of programs that have been formed to deal with child assault. They deal with bullying, sexual assault and interpersonal conflicts. These programs include family intervention and prevention strategies which have helped in the reduction of child abuse. There has been parent education aiming at teaching parents on how to reduce and prevent child abuse. There are law enforcement programs aimed at reducing abuse and victimization of children.

Use of psychiatric medication by the welfare services has helped children mostly with aggressive behavior. Adults also get assistance on how to become better parents and how to supervise their children. The electronic technology growth and communication is another factor leading to reduced child abuse. (David & Shattuk, 2014).Children spend less time with face to face encounters where assault can occur, since they can communicate electronically. They also use online platforms which provide safeguards against physical interaction hence reducing the chances for abuse. When children are in threatening situations they can use technology like a cell phone to alert and call for help. They can also be able to record any misbehavior as evidence.

There should be regular and comprehensive assessment of what children are exposed to especially sexual abuse by coaches and teachers, child abduction, bullying and neglect. Child welfare needs to give more attention and assess children who have survived abuse but have not received any attention from the physicians, therapists, educators, and law enforcement officials.

David Finkelhor & Anne Shattuk(2014) Trends in Childrens Exposure to Violence, 2003 to 2011. Retrieved on 25th October 2017.

Child Maltreatment Prevention: Past, Present, and Future

Efforts to prevent child abuse have changed and grown significantly over centuries. They have moved to an approach that emphasizes not only on public awareness but also on the role of the community. Education to care givers and early intervention are some of the factors that have helped to prevent children from being neglected and abused. The care givers are educated on how to train their children to avoid abuse and the right channels to use in case they are assaulted .There has been growing awareness that child abuse is a serious social issue and a public health concern. This is because of the education given to the public and awareness programs that are formed. Research shows investments meant for prevention are not only used to protect the children from abuse but also prevent the devastating effects of the abuse(ISSUE BRIEF 2017).They offer to cater for the healthcare costs and help in getting them lost opportunities like education and work. They help them deal with the mental and physical health problems brought about by them being abused or neglected.

The child welfare services term prevention as the best means to keeping the children safe from neglect and abuse. However millions of children are still being referred to the child protection services annually. Focus on child abuse has expanded beyond public awareness to intervention in the early stages. This includes visiting new mothers who are at risk and teaching them basic skills of caregiving .They show them the importance of bonding with their children. This creates a healthy development and a positive environment for the child. This helps in early detection of any dangers and hence avoids future danger threats to the child.


ISSUE BRIEF (2017) Child Maltreatment Prevention: Past, Present, and Future. Retrieved on 25th October 2017.

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