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What if I told you the child protection system does work?

By Kelly Bracknell - posted Monday, 2 September 2013

Shocking yarns sell newspapers, but for those working in the child protection system, constant stories of children being hurt, neglected or abused, without the other side of the story (children and young people doing well in the system), is sometimes hard to take.

Maybe this contributes, with the pressure of the work, to high worker and volunteer turnover in the sector. The almost uniformly negative coverage doesn’t make sense to the hundreds of thousands of people doing outstanding work in the child protection system and seeing success stories every day. In a media landscape saturated with bad news stories about child safety, Child Protection Week (1-7 September) is an opportunity to look at some of the good news stories that are rarely reported.

The media takes an understandable focus on what goes wrong in child protection because bad news is often more interesting and newsworthy than good news . We get that. However, the relentless focus on bad news is disheartening for workers and volunteers who dedicate their working lives to children and families.  These practitioners  see success stories every day.


Mistakes are made, tragedies do occur and the system is not perfect. However, for every misstep and mistake, there are just as many good news stories about children and young people who have emerged successfully from out-of-home care.

I work for the CREATE Foundation (an organisation that represents children and young people in out-of-home care) and I chair the Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW) committee.

Leading child protection organisations in Queensland sit on the QCPW Committee including NAPCAN, Act for Kids, PeakCare Queensland,  The Daniel Morecombe Foundation, the Queensland Police Service, Family Planning Queensland and the relevant State Government bodies (to name a few). As people who are committed to the protection of children and young people in Queensland, we often see inspiring and transformative journeys of children and young people overcoming difficulty to reach their full potential. Seeing children’s and young people’s resilience and capacity sustains staff working in child protection. 

As a young person CREATE spoke to recently said: ‘You can’t judge the whole care system from one traumatised boy, but by the many children who have gone right through the system and have become a success.’

The CREATE Foundation has worked with many young people who received love and support in care and are now on their way to leading successful lives.

‘Lisa’ is 22 and has an intellectual impairment. She had a dedicated carer who supported Lisa throughout the time Lisa was in care and during her transition to independence. Lisa speaks positively about her carer and remembers the effort and time her carer gave her. ‘I know I am all grown up now, but I know my carer will always be there to help me.’


‘Peter’ is 18 and transitioned to independence in August this year. He completed Year 12 in 2012 and went on to start his own photography business.

Peter had a loving carer and although he is no longer legally ‘in care’ he still resides with his carer and family. He will soon commence photography studies at TAFE.

‘Susan’ is 19 and still has regular contact with her carer who continues fostering a household of five foster children. Susan is studying at university and aims to join the Queensland Police Service . She lives in share accommodation around the corner from her foster carer.

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About the Author

Kelly Bracknell is a community facilitator at The Create Foundation which represents children and young people in out-of-home care. She has worked with young people with a care experience for several years and also chairs the Queensland Child Protection Week Committee.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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