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Macarthur, Sydney ~ Wellbeing or Woe

Macarthur, Sydney ~ Wellbeing or Woe

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Published by adamfblakester

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Published by: adamfblakester on Dec 23, 2011
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12/23/2011

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Woe or Wellbeing?Creating a Child Friendly Macarthur Region
 
Document2 Page 1 of 14
Introduction
The Macarthur Region in the south west of Sydney is infamously known for its social andeconomic circumstances – profoundly represented by the riots in Macquarie Fields inearly 2005 that played across television screens, radio stations and front pages acrossAustralia and even elsewhere around the world.Yet the Region has many great strengths: a strong sense of community, a long and richhistory – Indigenous, European, and multicultural – Australia’s largest industrial area,and a can do attitude which has delivered great innovation – such as the MacarthurYouth Commitment, Macarthur Region of Councils (MacRoc), Dusseldorp Skills Forum,Macarthur Community Forum and Austool.NAPCAN Foundation has worked with children and young people throughout 2005 to buildtheir vision for a Child Friendly Macarthur Region – a Region which supports and enablesthe wellbeing of all children and young people, and ensures they grow up free fromharm.The most powerful lesson from this work was that the solution determined appearsremarkably simple. The vision was primarily about relationships – how we involve,support and relate with each other. The material items that the kids wanted wereconfronting in that they were so fundamental and it was so concerning they didn’t havethem – like dinner every night.Now our shared challenge is to bring the vision into being.What follows is the story of NAPCAN’s 6 month journey to create this solution and wayforward. This is a story of relationships being formed, challenges being overcome, aseries of innovative workshops with children and young people – utilising ancientAboriginal methods – all building to a decision makers forum being held with challenge of taking the kids’ visions forwards.
 Figure 1 Innovative Aboriginal Workshop, Airds
 
Woe or Wellbeing?Creating a Child Friendly Macarthur Region
 
Document2 Page 2 of 14
About NAPCAN Foundation
NAPCAN Foundation was founded in 1987 as Australia’s first national communityorganization working to prevent abuse and neglect of children, before it starts. Today,NAPCAN works to achieve this mission by working in partnership with communities tobecome child friendly, free of harm to children and young people.A Child Friendly Community provides children and young people with opportunities foroptimal growth and development: socially, emotionally, culturally and spiritually. Itembodies a life free from harmful or abusive behaviours, systems and services. Families,parents and carers are supported within the community and readily access help whenexperiencing difficulties. Children and young people are valued, respected and activelyincluded in the community.The challenges faced by Macarthur described above are in fact shared by all Australians.A child is abused in Australia every 13 minutes – more than 40,000 per year – andexperts believe this is the tip of a much larger problem.NAPCAN believes that abuse and neglect of children is Australia’s most serious socialproblem. The life lasting consequences increase the risk of unemployment, mental andphysical illness, crime and substance abuse to name just a few. The economic costs weremost recently calculated to be $5.5 billion per year – more than our annual meatexports!
 
About National Child Protection Week
In 1990 NAPCAN created National Child Protection Week and has continued to coordinatethe Week since then. The goals of National Child Protection Week are to inspireindividuals and communities to take responsibility for the wellbeing and protection of children, and support and sustain these actions to be all-year-round initiatives.
 Figure 2 National Child Protection Week Event, 2005
In 2003 nearly 100,000 people participated in one of 737 events across Australiaundertaken as part of National Child Protection Week. Hundreds of media stories,interviews, and campaigns had a combined circulation of 17 million people.
 
Woe or Wellbeing?Creating a Child Friendly Macarthur Region
 
Document2 Page 3 of 14
55% of individuals surveyed indicated their involvement in National Child Protection Week had a positive on their, or someone else’s, relationship withchildren.
 In 2005 it was decided to hold the launch of National Child Protection Week in Macarthur.
 
Why Macarthur?
The Macarthur Region is forecast to grow by more than 300,000 people over the next 10years – this means Macarthur will grow by the size of Canberra. This growth with bringgreat opportunities and challenges for the communities through the Region.In light of the obvious social and economic challenges experienced in the Region,NAPCAN saw an opportunity to make a difference through supporting and enabling thecommunities of Macarthur to become more child friendly.
 Article – Macarthur Chronicle
Further, Macarthur’s proven track record of innovation and its ‘can do’ attitude lentthemselves to the opportunity of developing an approach to becoming ‘child friendly’ thathas the potential to become a replicable model for other regions around Australia.NAPCAN’s past work in Macarthur Region extended to the provision of educationmaterials for parents and services working with children and families. Many events hadbeen undertaken in the Region as part of National Child Protection Week.
 NAPCAN Parenting Brochure – Listening to Young People

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