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Networking across state lines to improve support for young people

Last Friday, 6 January 2017, I flew to Adelaide with Natalie Hall, a member of my policy team, to meet with local experts about improving the wellbeing of children who have had contact with either the child protection or youth justice systems.

Often children in these situations face unique challenges that they need external support to overcome. I strongly believe that addressing the needs of these vulnerable young people is an achievable goal and should be a priority.

Over the course of my visit to Adelaide I attended three meetings. These included: Amanda Shaw, Guardian for Children and Young People South Australia; Professor Fiona Arney and Professor Leah Bromfield from the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Professor Morag McArthur from the Australian Catholic University; and Doctorr Jennifer Harvey and Rebecca Carrigan from the Department for Child Protection and the Child Safe Environments initiative.

We discussed a range of strategies for monitoring and resolving potential issues that children in out-of-home care or juvenile detention might face. Special focus was paid to the stories emerging from the recent Royal Commission into child protection systems in South Australia.

Overall, it was a thought provoking experience. Collaboration and knowledge sharing between like-minded agencies are vital tools in our mission to support children and young people.

I would like to thank all of our generous hosts for receiving us and I look forward to any future opportunities to network further.