Nelson Mandela suggested that the soul of a nation was reflected in how well it treated its most vulnerable; Hilary Clinton used an old African saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ for the title of a book. Both quotations are pertinent to this book.
We live in a world of pressures-to earn lots of money, to be smart, to be successful, to look like a film star, to have a big house, to cook like a TV hostess, to eat like a king, to work long hours, to have lots of stuff. Where are our children in all of this frenetic activity? How can we be parents as well as workers? Where are our role models? How valued are the carers of our children? How much do we value children for themselves? What if my child does not look or behave like the one on the back of the Farex packet smiling sweetly at dinnertime? Does anyone care? The authors of this book do, and they have taken a determined and well-researched path to help us understand and help vulnerable families in today’s challenging society.
I feel honoured to have been asked to write the foreword for this wonderful book, which is so very timely for Australian parents, children and those who work in the range of services aimed at helping them grow through the most vulnerable times of their lives. The book has emerged from the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia under the leadership of its current Director, Professor Fiona Arney and its foundation Director, Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott. The Centre showcases a wonderful blend of research, advocacy, practitioner training and support.