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Barnardos Australia Response
to the NSW Budget 2023

Barnardos believes that every child has the right to a safe home, and we are heartened to see the focus on housing in the Minns Government’s first budget for NSW. We also know that keeping NSW children safe and at home with their families also needs more than putting a roof over their heads. The absence of a longer term, more transformative approach to intervening early with vulnerable families leaves children at risk of continuing to enter out-of-home care (foster care).

The work Barnardos does with families can support children and their communities for the rest of their lives. We want to work with the NSW government to support families sooner rather than later.

The housing-first focus will make a difference for families, but the economics of early intervention add up. We want to see more for families experiencing violence, and for young people facing mental health issues from future Minns budgets. Children entering foster care in NSW desperately need Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Specialist Care and Assessment Teams to assist the Children’s Court to decide future plans to ensure more children have a safe home.

As advocates for children, Barnardos is very excited to see how budget measures will contribute to the future for NSW children in a time of crisis for many families. After only six months in government there are many promising measures from the Minns government, and we look forward to working together closely over the current and forthcoming period to keep NSW children increasingly safe and giving them the opportunity to thrive.

Advocating for children is everybody’s business

We advocate for children by calling on the government and policy makers to improve the laws, policies and practices that will help to improve children’s lives. We use our knowledge and carry out evidence-based research and share it with decision-makers and others working in the sector to drive action and change on behalf of children. Barnardos also recognises that we have an important role in raising awareness of the challenging issues affecting vulnerable children – whether it be domestic violence, the rising cost-of-living, safe housing, or complex needs, we need to ensure that everyone understands the impact these issues have on children.

Our Domestic Violence advocacy

All children have a right to grow up in a home free from violence and abuse. In Australia, 1 in 4 children are exposed to domestic and family violence (DFV)* and one child is killed per fortnight by a parent or step-parent.^

The devastating effect of Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) on children and young people has been acknowledged yet, despite the evidence, children and young people continue to be regarded as witnesses, rather than acknowledged as victims who experience the trauma of DFV. 

We advocate for children and young people who have experienced domestic and family violence by calling on the government to improve the laws, policies and practices that will make children’s lives better.


Homelessness is a child safety issue

Barnardos provides supported crisis accommodation and transitional accommodation and works with families to prevent homelessness. Children have the right to a safe home and the current housing crisis in Australia is forcing thousands of families into homelessness.

Family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children.* When our practitioners are supporting families to escape domestic and family violence (DFV), they find that there is little or no crisis housing available. We also find that fewer crisis accommodation services exist in places with the highest DFV rates, including deaths by domestic and family violence.

Barnardos is advocating for increased funding for safe, secure and affordable social housing for children and families fleeing domestic violence situations, including crisis, transitional and long-term housing in order to directly prevent children needing to enter out-of-home care.

Housing is a child safety video
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Housing is a
child safety issue

Housing is a family violence issue video image
Play Video about Housing is a family violence issue video image

Housing is a
family violence issue

Housing keeps families together
Play Video about Housing keeps families together

Housing keeps
families together

Contact us for more information about our homelessness advocacy work.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) Specialist homelessness services annual report 2018–19

Our research and government submissions

Barnardos uses its knowledge and expertise to respond to calls for advice by Royal Commissions, State, Federal, Territory and local Governments. We make submissions, appeals and recommendations and we provide comment on discussion papers, draft legislation, government guidelines, program reform and system effectiveness.

Research reports


“We feel the child should have a have voice in the decisions that affect them”

Giving Children a Voice: Barnardos Advocacy video image
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Giving Children a Voice: Barnardos Advocacy

I’m Dr Rob, Head of Knowledge, Outcomes and Research and research at Barnardos Australia. 

Well it’s a fact that at-risk children lack political power, and we feel that they should have a voice in the decisions that affect them, and the issues that are really important to them. 

We undertake rigorous research and evaluation of our services, with a range of universities. 

And what we really want to do is get the hard evidence, what’s the impact of our services, what really works, what do we really need to keep doing.

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