Community services call for children to be prioritised in post-pandemic response

MEDIA RELEASE 9 DECEMBER 2020

Community services in WA have identified children as the ‘invisible victims’ of the COVID-19 pandemic and are calling on the Western Australian government, policy makers, business and communities to recognise and respond to the critical issues affecting children right now.

The Children’s Collective, The Valuing Children Initiative and the WA Council of Social Service (WACOSS) have come together to highlight the concerns of children and family services in the face of rising rates of hardship among WA families as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Increasing financial and relationship stress have deep and enduring effects on children,” said Dr Vicky Absalom-Hornby, spokesperson for The Children’s Collective.

“We need to place children at the core of our decision-making, not leave them behind to have their existing vulnerabilities compounded by the effects of COVID-19. Australia should be leading the way on child wellbeing. We are a wealthy and resourceful country with world-leading researchers in child development. We keep looking to other countries as role models for best practice with children, when we have the ingredients for success and leadership right here, especially in an affluent state like Western Australia,” said Dr Absalom-Hornby.

“One of the things that COVID-19 has done is highlight just how important kids are to personal and community wellbeing. Both locally and globally a theme of ‘missing children’ has been expressed by many adults, particularly grandparents, who lament the absence of children’s voices and laughter from their lives.” said Adj. Prof. Tony Pietropiccolo AM, founder of the Valuing Children Initiative.

“As Australia emerges from COVID-19, it is critical that we do not forget this experience and lose sight of the value of children. Children are essential to a healthy society and it is only right that all children are given the support and attention they need to flourish; for their sakes and for ours.”

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