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AASW’s Policy Position on Child protection and Wellbeing

Schoolboy with a backpack.Social workers, in a variety of practice contexts, need to be able to promote child wellbeing and to assess and respond to the needs of children and families through direct practice and through working for structural changes. The AASW acknowledges the need to consider child wellbeing and protection within the broader social and political context. Responding and working in partnership with children, young people and families requires an understanding of the inter-related nature of child wellbeing, abuse and neglect with issues such as poverty, domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse, disability, colonisation and the intergenerational impacts of the Stolen Generation, homelessness, education, health and mental health. The social work platform outlines how the social work profession generally and the AASW specifically works to address the complexity and diversity of the issues facing Australian children and families (Australian Association of Social Workers National Social Policy Committee, 2013). Our work is based on the core values outlined in the Code of Ethics, of Respect for Persons, Social Justice and Professional Integrity, and is informed by the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The AASW is a significant voice in public policy on child protection and children’s well-being. The AASW has advocated extensively in the following areas:

  • Intercountry and Australian adoption
  • Child Protection
  • Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and Redress Scheme
  • Family and Domestic Violence
  • School Social Work
  • Out of Home Care
  • Kinship Care
  • Indigenous cultural rights
  • Youth detention and justice
  • Surrogacy

Position Statements



November 2015

Intercountry Adoption

November 2013

Child Wellbeing and Protection

Policy Submissions



July 2020

Covid 19 Inquiry Submission

September 2018

Submission to the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intergenerational Welfare Dependence

May 2018

Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs is inquiring into local adoption

February 2018

Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Re: Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2017

November 2016

Submission to the Cross Directorate Domestic Adoptions Taskforce Re: Review of the ACT adoption process

October 2016

Submission to Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee – Queensland Parliament Re: Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

September 2016

Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Re: Review of the Adoption Act 1984

June 2016

Submission to the Commissioner for Children – Tasmania Re: Family and Domestic Violence – Its Impact upon Children and Young People in Tasmania

August 2015

May 2015

Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission Roundtable on Children affected by Family and Domestic Violence

March 2015

Submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Submission to the Consultation Paper: Redress and Civil Litigation

January 2015

Submission to the Royal Commission Re: South Australian Child Protection Systems

October 2014

Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs (Community Affairs References Committee) Re: Inquiry into Out of Home Care

June 2014

Submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Response to Issues Paper 6: Redress Schemes

April 2014

Submission to the Health and Community Services Committee Queensland Parliament Re: Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill; the Public Guardian Bill; and the Family and Child Commission Bill

March 2014

Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry on grandparents who take primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren

February 2014

Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning

Media Releases



28 October, 2020

Queensland Election 2020 - Child Safety AASW renews call for social work registration

10 September, 2020

AASW Renews call for Social Work Registration - National Child Protection Week 2020

12 June, 2020

Governments need to act now to protect vulnerable children: AASW statement on Mason Jet Lee

6 November, 2019

Schools need social workers: AASW welcomes call for improved wellbeing in schools

27 November, 2018

Local adoption report published: A time to recommit to the best interests and cultural rights of Indigenous children

31 August, 2018

Child Protection Week 2018: AASW renews its call for greater investment in early intervention and workforce regulation

15 February, 2018

AASW urges a strengthening of the proposed redress scheme for survivors of institutional sexual abuse

17 November, 2017

Royal Commission into Northern Territory youth detention marks major opportunity for change: AASW

10 November, 2017

National Adoption Awareness Week 12-18 Nov 2017: Greater resourcing needed for preventative service

1 September, 2017

Child Protection Week: time to better support vulnerable children

17 March, 2017

SA Child Protection chief to talk at AASW World Social Work Day breakfast

15 November, 2016

Committing to early intervention and monitoring will improve out-of-home-care outcomes for young Australians

7 November, 2016

AASW welcomes compensation fund for survivors of child sexual abuse

6 November, 2016

Adoption a complex issue that needs more consideration: AASW

7 September, 2016

Queensland government decision to remove 17-year-olds from aduilt [sic] prisons welcomed by AASW

15 August, 2016

Initial response to final SA Child Protection Royal Commission report

5 August, 2016

AASW SA responds to interim findings of child protection systems royal commission

6 May, 2016

AASW welcomes recommendations for commercial surrogacy to remain illegal in Australia

21 April, 2016

Stemming rate of child abuse needs action as well as outrage

18 March, 2016

Safe Schools program vital to addressing suicide rate: AASW

12 February, 2016

Child protection system needs more investment to protect vulnerable children

21 January, 2016

Determining risks to vulnerable children a complex and difficult process

17 December, 2015

Adoption not a simple issue but best interest of children is paramount

19 August, 2015

Child abuse royal commission: Registration could help prevent abuse like BGD's in the future

19 August, 2015

Child sexual abuse royal commission: Why governments need to adopt redress scheme

18 August, 2015

What child protection workers need to do their job well

10 August, 2015

AASW supports social work education for child protection work

25 February, 2015

AASW supports recommendations of Forgotten Children report

20 February, 2015

Child protection education in Australia: an AASW statement

7 January, 2015

Open discussion key to a better child protection system

24 November, 2014

Abandoned baby sparks call for more support

3 September, 2014

Commission extension gives more victims a voice

23 July, 2014

National approach to protecting our children needed

3 July, 2014

Don’t let thousands of sexual abuse victims be condemned into silence

29 May, 2014

Future of the Royal Commission in doubt

23 May, 2014

School social workers provide students and families with choice

Other relevant documents



27 July, 2016

Letter to the Editor: NT News. AASW President, Karen Healy AM, has written a letter to the Editor of the NT News in response to the ABC Four Corners report on the Don Dale juvenile detention centre.

December 2015

Scope of Social Work Practice Social Work in Child Protection

1 June, 2012

Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Re: Australian Human Rights Commission Amendment (National Children's Commissioner) Bill 2012

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers