2020 has been a busy and responsive year in the Family Matters campaign space.
The Queensland Family Matters leadership group has continued to meet monthly to discuss campaign efforts to promote the safety and needs of our children in the child protection system and what this has meant during COVID-19, with members meeting via Zoom video conference.
In May, we supported the online release of the Changing Tracks 2 Action Plan by the Queensland Government. “The changes we are seeing since the first Changing Tracks in slowing the growth in the number of children entering care is testament to the belief the government has in partnering with community, our sector, and community-controlled services. If we stay the course, we will be better together” Dr Gerald Featherstone as Qld Family Matters campaign co-chair. Read the full media release here.
We also saw the postponement of Family Matters National Week of Action from the end of May to mid-November. It will now follow NAIDOC week, and will commence with the release of the annual Family Matters report on 12 November at Parliament House, Canberra.
The Family Matters report measures trends in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s involvement in child protection systems across Australia, and reports on progress toward implementing evidence-informed solutions. We welcome your input into the community voices section of this report, where we reflect on achievements in the past year and the initiatives underway to continue to improve the lives of our children.
This year, we will take the opportunity to have discussions with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women about what the data shows in relation to comparison to last year’s report card. Most importantly we will have discussions about where we need to shift legislation, policy and practice to move from ‘improving’ to achieving ‘stronger’ outcomes to ensure our children grow up safe with family and in culture.
A highlight this year has been the progress of three organisations from the Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group in evaluating their level of commitment to the campaign through the trial of a practice reflection tool (referred during the trial as the Family Matters Self-Audit Tool). The findings from this trial are due to be released mid-July and will be discussed by both state and national Family Matters leadership groups to inform campaign priorities and strategies to increase organisational accountability to working in accordance with the Family Matters building blocks and principles.
Finally, we extend our gratitude to outgoing co-chair Dr Gerald Featherstone for his leadership and dedication to the campaign over the past four years in this state role. Gerald has also made significant contributions to the national campaign and as the Family Matters position on the First Children and Families Board. Recruitment to this role are underway for a new co-chair to work alongside co-chair Aunty Rachel Atkinson.
For more information or to get involved in the campaign, or to provide input into the 2020 Family Matters report, contact Eva Ruggiero.