Thursday, 6 September 2007

Queenslanders recognised for protecting children

Queenslanders recognised for protecting children

Seven Queenslanders received awards for their contributions to child safety in a Child Protection Week ceremony today.

Child Safety Minister Desley Boyle congratulated the award winners at the 19th annual Child Protection Week Awards at Parliament House in Brisbane.

"There are about 7300 children in care in Queensland and the number is growing," Ms Boyle said.

"I speak on behalf of all Queenslanders when I say a heartfelt thankyou to these dedicated men and women and the organisations that they represent. They have worked tirelessly all year round to make sure that our most vulnerable children and young people have the protection and safety that they deserve."

The winners came from a variety of backgrounds, but all share a common commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Queensland children.

The awards were organised by the Child Protection Committee, comprising representatives from community agencies, to recognise the outstanding achievements of nominees and winners in the field of child protection.

"The award winners deserve public recognition for their efforts, and I am encouraged that we had so many outstanding nominations this year," Ms Boyle said.

"The people who work in child protection are community heroes. They make a real difference to Queensland children. In fact, they save children's lives."

The award recipients were:

Professional- Mandy Jones, Regional Manager, Anglicare Central Queensland, Rockhampton. A foster care worker since 1997 and a foster carer for over 20 years, Mandy Jones is a member of the Board of Directors for PeakCare Queensland who brings extensive experience to her roles.

Volunteer - John Burton, Coordinator, Edmund Rice Camps, Indooroopilly. For the past 15 years, this organisation has run one-week camps during the school holidays for children with significant emotional, social, behavioural or physical limitations. A number of workers volunteer a week of their annual leave to help run the camps, with Year 12 and university students also volunteering as "buddies".

Public Sector - Detective Sergeant Murray Ferguson, Doomadgee CIB / Child Protection and Investigation Unit. He has been working in Doomadgee and covering Mornington Island and Burketown for the past year and has worked closely with Child Safety staff and traditional Elders to raise awareness of child protection issues.

Regional Program - Ray Krueger, Principal, Glendyne Education and Training Centre at Nikenbah, near Maryborough. This centre, established in 1998, provides integrated treatment and rehabilitation for students who do not cope in mainstream schools. The program includes mentoring and teaching basic life skills in small groups.

Youth Participation - Peta McCorry, CREATE's 'Be Heard' Project, Highgate Hill. This project seeks the views of young people in the child protection system about the quality of care they are receiving.

Education Initiative - Joint winners - Queensland Police Service "Surf Safely" education campaign and Family Planning Queensland Everyone's got a bottom children's storybook.

The "Surf Safely" program teaches tips to keep children safe from predators on the Internet. It has been presented to more than 7900 students and more than 35,000 hint cards have been distributed.

Everyone's got a bottom reflects current research and aims to help parents and carers talk to children aged 3-8 about their bodies in a way that encourages self-protection.

Child Protection Week runs until Saturday September 8.

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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