Who We Are

At the Valuing Children Initiative, we believe that every child deserves a happy, healthy, and safe childhood.  We recognise that children have no choice about the circumstances of their birth, or their childhood, and consider the wellbeing of children to be everyone’s responsibility.  We know that childhood experiences shape adulthood so it’s important that we nurture, protect, and listen to our youngest citizens.

Established in 2016, the Valuing Children Initiative strives to create greater societal awareness of children and their needs.  Despite the best efforts of many committed individuals and organisations, far too many Australian children, on a diverse range of indicators, are not faring well.  As a wealthy country, Australia has the capacity to ensure that all children are given the supports and opportunities they need to flourish.  We believe that greater attention needs to be paid to societal attitudes towards children.  Societal attitudes drive change and expectations about what is acceptable; a focus on attitudes in the context of child wellbeing is essential.  Identifying and addressing the systemic and attitudinal barriers that prevent children from reaching their potential is key.

Attitudes and the culture of a society are pivotal to children’s wellbeing however, this important part of the picture is frequently missing from discussions. Attitudes to children, how we value them, individually and as a section of society, directly impacts the priority we give to their needs and rights. This in turn impacts how children are treated.  Attitudes also inform policies, programs, and resources that directly and indirectly effect children.  It is essential that we understand adult attitudes towards children so that individual and societal reflection and change can occur.

The Valuing Children Initiative views children as important members of our society who, like all members of society, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  We work to create a culture in which it becomes automatic for the needs and wellbeing of children to be prioritised and where it is standard practice for kids to be actively involved in decision-making.

If you would like to get involved please visit our How To Help page.


“If we don’t stand for children then we don’t stand for much.”
– Marion Wright Edelman


Our Team

Adj. Prof. Tony Pietropiccolo, AM

Director, Centrecare Inc & Co-Founder, Valuing Children Initiative

Tony’s commitment and achievements in the community and social services sector span over 40 years. In a sector full of committed individuals, Tony stands out not just for his remarkable role as Director of Centrecare, but for his relentless pursuit of social justice at the highest level for some of society’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals. Tony is passionate about the role of the non-government sector. Above and beyond Centrecare’s interests, he believes that the sector is central to the future wellbeing of so many Australians and has sought to protect the integrity and standards of social service organisations throughout Australia so they are able to maximise their contribution. This is exemplified by his significant involvement with many peak organisations and founding the Valuing Children Initiative.

Tony was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division (AM) in 2012 and most recently Adjunct Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus.

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Madeleine McLeod

Development Executive

Maddie is a qualified social worker with more than 20 years’ experience.  Her commitment to social justice is evident across her career with significant prior experience in direct service provision to vulnerable children, adults and families in the out-of-home-care and justice sectors as well as senior management roles in not-for-profit organisations. Maddie recognises there are systemic and attitudinal barriers that prevent many children from reaching their potential and she is interested in finding creative ways to effect positive change for children, and for society more broadly.

Maddie’s experience as a social worker gives her a deep understanding of the individual and societal outcomes that occur when children are not valued appropriately.  She believes placing the wellbeing and voices of children and young people at the centre of decision making and policy is crucial in order to achieve a society in which all children can flourish.   Along with knowledge and experience, Maddie brings a creative, positive and strategic mindset to the Valuing Children Initiative.


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Black and white photo of the Valuing Childrens Initiative team

Thank you…to our volunteers

We are grateful for our wonderful volunteer team that supports Valuing Children. Self-referred and through University programs; we cannot do this without you.

Thank you to the McCusker Internship Program- University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, and the University of Notre Dame for your intern support.

Thank you.