“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
To protect the mental health of children exposed to family breakdown and prevent anxiety, depression, self-harming behaviours and youth suicide.
To protect children from life-threatening risks associated with family breakdown and from all forms of harm, violence and emotional and psychological abuse.
To ensure that childrens’ rights and needs to maintain and develop relationships with those who love and care for them are widely understood, protected and observed, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A world where children’s needs and rights are considered paramount whenever families separate and where everyone has the knowledge and understanding to play a part in preventing the harm to children that so often accompanies separation, particularly through traditional legal and court systems.
To treat everyone with respect and courtesy;
To put the internationally recognised rights and the fundamental needs of children first;
To make accurate, balanced and gender-neutral information readily accessible to the whole community;
To support and inspire those who can benefit from knowledge and experience we share;
To be patient, compassionate and understanding, yet determined and persistent for the long-term tasks ahead;
To make a positive, sustainable contribution to our community.
For many children, family separation is a major childhood trauma that affects their mental and physical health for the rest of their lives. It affects their behaviour and their education, and can lead to serious social problems, self-harm and even suicide.
For many parents, separation is the most stressful period of their entire lives, creating unfamiliar and frightening situations and extreme emotions. It’s a time when many parents need considerable help for themselves – and help to be able to do what’s best for their children. And it’s a time when children need their parents most.
We believe that we need to do much more to make sure children and their families have easy access to the information and professional help that they need before, during and after separation. We need to make sure that all professionals that work with separated families, and especially with children, are properly qualified in this specialised field. Far too few professionals have the necessary skills and experience – and, sadly, many cause further harm. We also need to find alternatives to the current family court experience. It’s far too slow, it’s beyond the finances of most families, and its adversarial nature escalates family conflict. This only increases the harm for our children.
Australia’s family courts deal with over 200,000 adults every year and, although the majority of families avoid actual trials, our family courts set the tone for family separation throughout the country; they affect outcomes for children even in families that avoid court proceedings. For our kids’ sake, we need to find alternative, better ways of dealing with family breakdown. And we need to work together to help our community, and our decision-makers, understand that family separation must no longer be treated first and foremost as a legal issue. It must instead be recognised as the major health and child welfare issue that it is – one that directly affects millions of Australians and indirectly, the whole of our society.
The financial cost of doing nothing runs into billions of dollars every year. The personal, human cost – for generations of Aussie kids and their families – is incalculable.
You can contribute to our work through donations, by working with us, or by becoming involved in developing and advocating better ways of dealing with the health and child welfare crisis that is family breakdown today. We need to make a difference, for kids’ sake. Together, we can.
Our International Ambassador
Professor Lyn Beazley AO FAA FTSE FACE CIE (Aust)
A graduate of Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, former Chief Scientist of WA and WA Australian of the Year in 2015, Lyn is a neuroscientist and educator based in Perth, WA. She is currently an Honorary Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and the Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Science at Murdoch University. Among other awards, she has been named an Officer of the Order of Australia for her contributions to medical science and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA).
Ambassador & QLD Representative
Karen is the author of From Bullied to Brilliant, a fresh look at the nature of bullying and how best to deal with it, and director of Powerful Positive People. A qualified Trainer of NLP and Time Line Therapy® Coach, Karen helps children, adults, performers and athletes overcome confidence and self-esteem issues. Karen has a broad understanding of the dynamics of personal interactions, particularly bullying and social isolation, through both her professional and personal life. As a coach, she has seen how even the most hostile of parents, in seemingly intractable disputes with ex-partners, can be supported and coached towards better outcomes for themselves and their families. She is For Kids Sake’s first Ambassador.
David Curl MA (Oxf) PhD (Monash)
CEO & NT/WA Representative
Father, film-maker, writer & biologist, David’s career bridges art and science. Former Board Member of the Australian Directors Guild and Australian Cinematographers Society, and contributor to the development of film/TV industry policy, he has filmed for international productions, from David Attenborough’s Trials of Life to Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, and produced two of Australia’s most successful factual films, The Call of Kakadu & Silhouettes of the Desert, which reached over 100 million in 40 countries. Beyond his media work for TV, radio, film & magazines/books, David has been active in wildlife conservation and children’s rights – campaigning for family law reform in Australia and overseas – and enjoys watching wildlife, playing sports and music, and sharing time with children.
Board Member & WA/SA Representative
An award-winning technical producer with a career in radio, Toni brings a blend of ideas and a practical approach to bringing those ideas to life! Her quest for answers around what her son was experiencing when her contact with him was severed led her into a life coaching programme with a world leader in family therapy.
Toni has become a keen advocate for overhaul and change to the family law system, to bring about urgently needed changes that support a child’s right to have both parents in their lives whenever appropriate. She has a hunger for learning and sharing that knowledge with those around her. Her passion to help others was anchored in early on where she volunteered as a Counsellor with Youthline in New Zealand. The approach that came naturally to her, was not to judge, but to meet people where they were at, wherever that may be.
Paul Mallett BEng (Comms) (Curtin)
Father of three children, former Army Reservist, Martial Arts instructor and Manager of a team of computer programmers for a Fortune 500 company, Paul is qualified secondary school science teacher and, occasionally, still manages to write some computer code himself. With family experience of mental health disorders, health treatment programs, including direct counselling, and carer support programs, Paul has developed a considerable understanding of, and interest in, the relationships between mental health, family separation and child welfare. To get away from the pressures of modern life, Paul likes nothing more than to pitch a tent with his kids anywhere that doesn’t have phone coverage.
Michael Packer BEng (UTas)
Chairman & VIC/TAS Representative
Father of two wonderful daughters, engineer, adventurer, volunteer and children right’s campaigner. Michael spends his day time building and maintaining Australia’s scientific research bases in Antarctica Much of that time is spent leading a team of academic, industry and regulatory partners towards delivering cutting edge technology and policy reform for potable water recycling in one of the worlds most challenging and exciting environments. When he’s not making sure that penguins are safe he likes to spend his time exploring caves, preferably water filled ones in a very warm diving suit. Michael also volunteers his time with Save the Children as a Community Parent which he finds incredibly rewarding and is passionate about reforming the Family Law system to protect the rights of children. Nothing makes Michael happier than seeing a smile of delight on a child’s face.