Page 4044 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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To ensure that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are not left behind we will continue to work collaboratively with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and organisations. In this way we can ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are fully engaged in lifelong learning and positive generational experiences, as outlined in the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement 2015-2018.

Providing our children and young people with quality healthcare, education and employment opportunities is not a small task. We will measure our progress in fulfilling these needs through the children and young people’s outcomes framework. This framework tracks nationally recognised indicators of health, wellbeing, learning and development outcomes over time. Our children and young people have identified that they require the government to implement policy that enables the conditions for them to thrive.

Access to safe and affordable housing is protective as a factor for children and young people. Safe accommodation provides a young person with the ability to engage meaningfully with their community and environment, particularly while reducing the impacts of poverty and vulnerability. For example, domestic and family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia. As the Canberra community unites against these criminal behaviours we must ensure that our vulnerable children and young people remain supported and protected. Safe and secure housing provides a refuge for families fleeing violent homes and an opportunity for the affected individuals to regain their independence.

We recognise that to ensure the safety and security of our children and young people we must deliver a substantial and sustained reduction in the levels of child abuse and neglect; address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the statutory system; and invest in trauma-informed services that engage with vulnerable families. We will work to keep our children and young people safe and protected from harm. This is what we are doing through the implementation of a step up for our kids and the blueprint for youth justice in the ACT.

In the bigger picture, most children and young people in the ACT are faring well. We can and will improve our services and programs to build resilience, identify the strengths of our children, young people and their families, and build their capacity to overcome risk factors to development. This work will be done through the implementation of the human services blueprint’s better services initiative and the strengthening families project. We will improve outcomes for families and contribute to system-wide reforms that provide targeted, much-needed support for children, young people and their families.

Children and young people have told us that they want to grow up in communities that are inclusive, supportive and nurturing. An example of this is the access to safe playing spaces. Our children deserve to grow up in neighbourhoods with good parks, playgrounds and play spaces; areas in our community which provide the opportunity to explore the self and environment and, through play, develop skills necessary for adulthood. By prioritising safe, inclusive community environments, such as our parks

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