Good Beginnings, a national charity building better outcomes for children in vulnerable communities, is calling on Australians to help build better futures for children suffering from neglect and abuse.
At least 1 in 10 Australian children will suffer from neglect or abuse, and recent national figures show that the number of children removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse is on the increase. During 2009-10 alone, there were 286,437 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect made to state and territory authorities, and the number of children involved in these reports has increased by 16% in the last 5 years.
Effective early intervention is the key to ensuring positive outcomes for vulnerable children, their families and society. Now, more than ever, there is a need for action.
Three-year-old Amy is the youngest of six children. Her Mum and Dad yell a lot and throw things at each other. Amy has learnt to hide under a bed when this happens.
Dad left school when he was 14 and has never found permanent work; three relationships have finished because of his drinking. Mum has suffered from bouts of severe depression and paranoia and has to take medication. Amy has never had a story read to her, been tucked up in bed, had a piggy-back or been made to feel special.
When Amy starts school she will be behind the other children in gross and fine motor skills, speech, coordination and social skills. It will take many years of extra support for her to catch up. The odds of finishing school are low.
Amy will soon realise that she is different. When other children understand what the teacher is saying and she doesn’t, she will feel stupid. When she cannot maintain friends, she will feel unworthy. When she isn’t picked for teams, she’ll feel rejected. Eventually she will stop trying.
“The benefits of preventing abuse and neglect far outweigh the alternative strategy of rescuing damaged children,” says Jayne Meyer Tucker, Chief Executive Officer of Good Beginnings. “Amy’s story is not unique, and without intervention, vulnerable children slip through the cracks every day.”
Good Beginnings is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children like Amy by providing help before it is too late. Since 1997 Good Beginnings has helped over 40,000 children and their families through a range of early intervention programs and services that meet the needs of each local community.
Good Beginnings programs and services include:
- Child and Family Centres across Australia
- Partnerships with 28 primary schools providing a community service hub for programs
- Targeted support programs such as Contact Play & Learn, Play2Grow and Parents+Plus
- Parent education and support groups
- Home-based volunteer and intensive family support
“Early intervention relies on the prevention of abuse and neglect. With the help of these programs, children like Amy will be happier and healthier, and perform better at school, maturing into adults who are more productive, get better jobs and are less welfare dependent. This in turns builds strong communities… We are all responsible for ensuring a better future for children like Amy.”
Good Beginnings needs your support.
Find out more or make a donation by visiting www.giveachildagoodbeginning.com.au