Centacare has launched National Child Protection Week with the theme `Children are our treasures’ and a focus on family and community.

Speaking at a morning tea today, Assistant Director Pauline Connelly said children were precious resources and challenged society to live out this belief.

Supporting parents was crucial to keeping children safe, she said, highlighting the role of social workers, community services and government and non-government organisations which work to protect vulnerable families.

“Every day they witness the reality of children not being treasured and yet they remain present to those children and their parents despite the confronting challenges inherent in their work,’’ she said.

“Thank you for reminding us that from the moment of birth our children are a precious resource.’’

Rev’d Dr James McEvoy, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University’s Adelaide campus, was guest speaker at the event, held next to St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

Dr McEvoy said today’s market-based culture placed the young at risk of being viewed as “commodities and consumers on the one hand and as burdens on the other’’ at the expense of their intrinsic value.

“Their sense of self is influenced by the brokenness to which they are subjected, yet, as I see it, this brokenness does not have the loudest voice or the last word,’’ he said.

“Through the efforts of social workers, counsellors, community workers and loving family members, teachers and schools more broadly, these children can glimpse a fuller vision of life, one in which they do feel treasured.

“At the beginning of Child Protection Week, we acknowledge the great gift children are and give thanks to your work for fostering their lives.’’

The event was attended by students of St Mary’s School, Glenelg, who drew pictures of family which were made into necklaces for people to take home.

National Child Protection Week is coordinated by NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) and runs from September 4-10.

This year, the campaign invites all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by building stronger communities.

This reflects the importance and value of connected communities where families can get the support they need to keep children and young people safe.

#NCPW #PlayYourPart

Pictures: Tony Lewis