ACWA Conference

ACWA's biennial conference is the longest running child and family conference in Australasia and provides a leading forum for interaction between national and international human service workers, researchers, policymakers, academics and carers. 

The conference offers a high standard program for all professionals dedicated to protecting children and creating lasting change in children’s and families’ lives.

The event has continued to grow in size and prestige since its inception and is regarded nationally as the premier event for the human services sector.

ACWA's first conference was held in August 1962, a two-day event which carried the theme: The Institution in the Community. ACWA hosted a further four conferences (1978, 1979, 1980, 1989) until it became a biennial event in 1992.

The 2016 Conference

ACWA hosted its 18th national conference on 15 – 17 August 2016 at the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour, Australia, with the theme 'Pathways to Protection and Permanency: Getting it Right for Children, Young People and Families'. There were also 7 sub-themes for abstract submission expanding this overarching emphasis:

  • Child Protection
  • Children’s best interests and needs
  • Out of home care (kinship, foster and residential care)
  • Open adoption
  • Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities
  • Organisations, management, change
  • Research, policy and practice

The 2016 themes enabled conference participants to focus in depth on the importance of decision making for children in promoting security of childhood care and positive developmental outcomes. The full range of child protection and permanency pathways were explored, including safe permanency with family (including reunification/restoration from care), the place of kinship care in enabling permanency, promoting permanency in decisions for OOHC (including fostering and residential care), and open adoption.

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Issue 46 of Developing Practice will feature the conference. Subscribe to the journal here

Proceedings of Past Conferences

2016: Pathways to protection and Permanency - Getting it Right for Children, Young People and Families

2014: Children in a changing world: Challenges for families and communities 

2012: Children's Rights: What's right for children? What's right for children, young people and families?

2010: Building a Child Friendly Australia,  Responding to Vulnerable Families - Proceedings.

2008: Strong, Safe and Sustainable - Proceedings

2006: Positive Futures - Proceedings and Photographs

2004: Knowledge into Action

2002: What Works!?