What is a child worth in South Australia?
The population of South Australia includes approximately 307,000 Children under 14 years of age, making up approximately 18% of the 1.7M people who wake up in SA each morning.
What could these children and young people reasonably expect from their families, communities and their Church, community and political leaders?
Is it reasonable for SA’s children to expect:
- Some breakfast and a high likelihood of another meal sometime later in the day?
- Clothing that is suitable for the day’s climate and activities?
- An encouraging smile from someone they trust and some words of affirmation as they head off into each new day?
It has been said that “Our children are our future” and that a society’s level of investment in its most vulnerable members is a precursor for the future prosperity of the society in which they live.
In the light of the Gospel (Good News) according to Matthew 19:14, Jesus says: “Let the little Children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.
Sadly, however, recent government reports indicated:
- The number of SA of children and young people under the Guardianship of the State has increased to 3,858 by 31 Dec 2018 through care and protection court orders
- A much higher proportion of children under 12 years in out of home placements (10% in SA and 4% national average)
- Only a small number of families receiving Intensive Family Support Services (30% less than the national average)
- Our first nation’s (Aboriginal) children are 7 times more likely to be living in State Care than non-indigenous children
- NSW and Victoria have invested in Intensive Family Support Services and have seen a decrease in the number of children coming into the State Care systems.
Each and every day, Baptist Care SA’s dedicated team is building supportive relationships with vulnerable children and young people so that they can experience safe and welcoming home-like environments and subsequently minimise the risk of them dropping out of school.
But whilst our skilled staff are committed to inspiring and supporting the life aspirations of SA’s children… wouldn’t it also make sense for them to be engaging much earlier with families to address the complex and compounding layers of adversity that sadly often lead struggling parents to have no option but to relinquish their children into State Care.
Baptist Care SA believes children are worth the investment of $$’s, time and unconditional nurture so we are:
- Actively advocating with the State Government for greater investment in Intensive Family Intervention Support Services that can strengthen struggling families and communities
- Seeking deeper State investment into Family Intervention Services to increase opportunities to ‘turn the curve’ for vulnerable children
- Grateful for the ongoing support of our generous donors and concerned community members for our ongoing efforts to strengthen families and communities where children are safe and nurtured.
Blessings to you and your church as you seek to connect with vulnerable children and young people.