Strategy to boost help
About to open for public comment, Cumberland Council’s Draft Draft Children and Families Strategy says 26.1 per cent of children in Cumberland are developmentally vulnerable in one or more areas when they arrive at school, compared to 19.9 per cent in NSW.
Acknowledging areas of concern outlined in the draft around health and well-being of children, safety and the quality of child care, Councillor Lisa Lake described the strategy as “ground-breaking work”.
“We have issues to address for our children, their health and well-being, the quality of care being provided to them and their safety,” she said.
“I love this Strategy because it faces up to those issues and confronts them head on with a number of practical, timed actions to address them.”
One of the four priority areas outlined in the Strategy is Education and Care, with the Strategy noting that only 20 per cent of Long Day Care services in Cumberland were rated as ‘exceeding’ the National Quality Standard for Education and Care Services (NQS), which is lower than the national rate of 32 per cent.
Cr Lake said stressed that the council’s 17 owned and run services were all either ‘exceeding’ or ‘meeting’ the NQS, with the Strategy seeking to build the capacity of private sector services through education and training.
Another priority is child protection, with 410 criminal incidents against children reported to the police in Cumberland in 2018, including 140 sexual offences, 96 intimidation, stalking or harassment offences and 86 domestic violence assaults.
Over four years, the Strategy includes proposals to develop partnerships with services that have expertise in child protection; to carry out additional training for council staff; and to implement relevant Royal Commission recommendations and Child Safe Standards.
Almost one in five residents in Cumberland are aged 12 and under, a rate higher than Greater Sydney.
- 12.3 per cent of children aged 0-12 living in Cumberland were born overseas.
- 41.4 per cent of households are couples with children.
- Cumberland is home to 39,687 children aged 0-12.
- 1.8 per cent of children aged 0-12 living in Cumberland need additional assistance due to a disability
- Figures from the 2016 Census.