Children will always be at the forefront of decisions by a welfare group after the introduction of a new program.
Uniting Country SA launched its Child Aware Approach Research Project at the Copper Coast Sports and Leisure Centre in Kadina on Friday.
The program was developed by the group to put the needs of children first in any decision made.
Professor Ian Goodwin Smith and Dr Catherine Mackenzie, of the Australian Centre for Community Service at Flinders University, spoke to the gathering about the research.
The group’s journey with the project since its inception in 2012 was discussed by program co-ordinator Liz Sampson while chairwoman of the Uniting Country SA Board Sue Parkes outlined another two years’ funding.
Deputy Mayor of the Copper Coast Council Roslyn Talbot launched the project.
Ms Sampson said the group hoped the event would raise awareness of children and “remind us all to consider the needs of children when we make decisions as adults”.
“Poverty through generations and disadvantage are best addressed by looking after our children,” she said.
“If we can be aware of the effects of trauma on children and assist them to access help as they need it, we can prevent many of the social problems that develop later.
“We hope to generate increased community interest in the needs of children that will move us towards being a child-friendly community.
“This is among a series of projects called Hearing Country Voices. We aim to conduct research that highlights the needs of country people and the local solutions that can make a difference. It is important that country voices are heard throughout the state.”
The event was attended by a range of community leaders including council representatives, the Education and Children’s Services Department, Child Protection Department, allied community service agencies, residents and Uniting Country SA staff interested in social issues and working with children.
The cake was specifically chosen to fit with the theme of putting children first.