In the course of our work, we are privileged to find out about wonderful people who are willing to go ‘above and beyond’ for children in care. They come from all walks of life but their hallmark is their energy, commitment and sheer heart for the children and young people they work with. We tend to call these people ‘natural advocates’ – but others might well call them ‘champions’!
One that springs to mind is a worker in a school who went out of her way to support a young person in care to understand her rights and then helped her to make a list of her thoughts and worries about things that were troubling her – like contact with her brothers and sisters and concern about space and privacy where she was living. The worker then supported the young person to reach out to our office, thus helping to improve her life but also helping to show her how she could assert her rights, and conveying to her a sense of her inherent value and worth.
That is why we were so pleased to hear about the inaugural 2021 SA Child Protection Awards, just launched by the Department for Child Protection to recognise the contributions made by individuals and organisations who strive to improve the lives of children and young people in care.
Delivered in partnership with National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), the awards will help celebrate achievements that make a difference and we hope they will also serve to inspire others to do the same.
If you know of an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to improve the lives of SA children and young people, please consider nominating them for an award.
There are nine award categories, including improving education outcomes, supporting transition to independence and ensuring that the views of children and young people are genuinely heard in decisions that affect them.
The award will include 2021 SA Foster Carer, 2021 SA Kinship Care, and 2021 Volunteer of the Year.
Potential nominees might be carers, case managers, teachers, support workers and child development researchers. In fact, you can even nominate yourself!
This is an excellent opportunity to reward the hard work of people trying to make things better for children and young people in care, in what we all know is a very challenging environment.
Nominations close on 1 August 2021 and winners will be announced on 8 September 2021, during National Child Protection Week.
For more information about the Awards, you can visit the DCP website.