The Valuing Children Initiative aims to inspire Australians to value all children, understand that a child’s wellbeing is the
shared responsibility of the entire community and ensure children are at the forefront of our considerations.

The vision of the Valuing Children Initiative is the creation of a society in which all children can flourish, have a safe, caring
and supportive childhood and maximise their potential.


    • To create greater societal awareness of children and their rights and needs.


    • To inspire Australians to value all children.


  • To promote a positive focus on all children.

    • To build understanding that a child’s wellbeing is the responsibility of the entire community.


  • To ensure children are at the forefront of our considerations.


Advocate to ensure children are at the
forefront of considerations.
Promote understanding that we should
value all children and that their wellbeing
is a community responsibility.
Engage stakeholders at all levels to build
awareness that how we value children
impacts on our attitudes, actions and
behaviours towards them.
Lend support to other organisations and
individuals who share a common goal of
ensuring children have the safe, caring
and supportive childhood they deserve.


Children are not faring as well as they could be.

While the last 50 years has seen significant strides in improving outcomes for children, it has also seen calamitous failures as evidenced by revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, as well as the increasing number of substantiated cases of neglect, and emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children. Issues such as the lack of school readiness and obesity are amongst other serious concerns that have been identified as adversely impacting on Australia’s children.

Today, for the first time, children in affluent countries like Australia are predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents simply because of obesity and the chronic diseases that result. In Australia a wealthy and sophisticated democracy, the ACOSS ‘Poverty in Australia Report 2014,’ reported that 17.7% of all children live below the poverty line.

The question must be asked, what accounts for the gap between what we want for all children and the reality?

The Valuing Children Initiative believes it is time to ask some challenging questions about how we value children in Australia today, and whether our attitudes to children have kept pace with what children deserve and have a right to expect.

How we value children matters, and has been identified as directly impacting on attitudes, behaviours and actions towards children. This in turn directly impacts on how governments, not for profit organisations, community groups, individuals and the private sector develop policies and provide programs for children and their families and carers.

The need to make Australia a better place for all children, has been identified by some of the most respected and committed advocates for children. They have highlighted the need to reconsider the priority we give to children, as well as the need for the entire community to understand its shared responsibility for children.

Professors Fiona Stanley, Sue Richardson and Sue Prior in 2005 in their seminal book, ‘Children of the Lucky Country? How Australian society has turned its back on children and why children matter,’ challenged Australia to, ‘…put children in the centre of our society, (and) ….encourage a cultural change in Australian society towards greater equality and opportunity for our children.’

The Valuing Children Initiative is seeking to stimulate discussion about our attitudes to children, how we value them and the priority we give their needs and rights. The aim is to engage with as many individuals and organisations in Australia as possible, in the belief that leadership at multiple levels and across sectors is needed to ensure the success of the initiative.

Further rationale and context for the Valuing Children Initiative is provided in the Foundation Paper.


The Valuing Children Initiative was established in January 2016 by Tony Pietropiccolo, Centrecare Inc. and Basil Hanna, Parkerville Children and Youth Care Inc. to create a greater societal awareness of children and their needs, and ensure that all children are loved, safe and able to maximise on their potential and wellbeing


Linda Savage

Expert Advisor and Inaugural Convenor

Linda Savage has a BA (Hons) in Political Science from UWA, a law degree (MA Law) from Cambridge University and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was previously the Director of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (WA) before being appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.  She is also a former member of the Western Australian State parliament.

Linda has served on numerous advisory committees and boards including the Chief Justice’s Taskforce on Gender Bias, the Reproductive Technology Council of Western Australia and Women Lawyers (WA). She is currently a Director on the boards of the Black Swan State Theatre Company, Youth Legal Services and the National Drug Research Institute.

In January 2016 she was appointed as the inaugural Convenor of the Valuing Children Initiative. In March 2018  she stepped down as Convenor. She continues to be involved and support the work of VCI in her new role as an Expert Advisor.

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Marie Slattery


Marie Slattery has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (Queen Margaret University, Scotland) and qualifications in leadership and lead auditing.

Marie shares her time between working 3 days a week on VCI and working as a Senior Quality and Child Safe Consultant for client and corporate services within the not for profit sector. Marie’s previous roles include being a coordinator in community and school based support service in WA, acting manager in a residential centre for teenagers in Ireland, team leader in a specialised foster care service in New Zealand. She has experience in  areas such as child safe accreditation, project and team management, youth juvenile justice, high support care, community outreach and engagement, advocating for the rights of children and young people.

In December 2017 she joined the Valuing Children Initiative and took on the role of Convenor from Linda Savage in March 2018.

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Pia Klymiuk-McIlroy 

Development Executive

Pia undertook the role of Development Executive and joined the VCI team in February 2018. Her focus is to ensure the financial stability and development of the initiative in the coming years. Pia comes from a corporate background with lots of business development experience across key areas such as education, hospitality, healthcare, mining, tourism, NFP and the sporting sectors. She has extensive experience in corporate management, strategic planning and project management. Her previous roles have all included a strong focus on sustainability and growth, this experience will add to the skills sets of the team to ensure VCI achieves its strategic goals.

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Emma King - Deputy Convenor - Valuing Children Initiative

Emma King

Inaugural Deputy Convenor (January 2016- December 2017)

Emma King began work on the VCI in January 2016, she and Linda Savage undertook the mammoth task of taking the concept of VCI and building it into the cutting edge initiative it is today.

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Dr Victoria Absalom-Hornby

   Development Executive

Victoria Absalom-Hornby holds a PhD in Forensic Psychology from the University of Manchester, UK. Her background includes working clinically and lecturing in the UK, specialising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy across public, private, forensic, early intervention and education sectors. Since relocating to Western Australia in 2012 Victoria has worked in the not for profit sector including roles in Learning and Development, Marketing, Communications Strategy and Fundraising. Victoria’s passion is advocating for children and young people and she provides a mixed academic, clinical and marketing skill set to the VCI team.

In July 2018, Victoria was appointed as the Development Executive at the Valuing Children Initiative to lead the project into the next stage of awareness and implementation.

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