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Fitting the pieces together for child protection

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Young people throughout the Archdiocese will be able to put their puzzle solving skills to the test as part of National Child Protection Week celebrations in September.

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Each child who attends Child Protection Sunday Mass on September 13 will receive an 18-piece jigsaw, a fun activity to remind them of their rights.

Once completed, the colourful puzzle tells children they have the right to ‘dream big, play, be happy, protection, speak up, faith and learn’.

“This year our gift to children is inspired by the COVID restrictions,” said Sally Wellington, manager of the Archdiocese’s Child Protection Unit.

“It seems that many people discovered the joy of doing jigsaw puzzles when we were asked to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.

“The puzzle is a fun way for young children to understand they have a right to feel safe at all times.”

Ms Wellington said it was expected almost 3000 puzzles would be distributed throughout the Adelaide Archdiocese during Child Protection Week.

This year the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) is celebrating its 30th anniversary of conducting Child Protection Week.

Running from September 6 to 12, the theme of the week is ‘Putting Children First’. It will focus on the importance of children ‘to feel safe and loved, have a chance to play and explore, have a say in decisions that affect them, and access to essential things like food, shelter and healthcare’.

Ms Wellington said while the coronavirus pandemic had impacted training programs, it provided an opportunity for the Child Protection Unit to enhance communications with the parishes and create new resources.

In the past few months the unit has produced newsletters covering topics such as mental health and domestic violence, as well as developing safe practices guidelines for groups which have been required to communicate with children through online means.

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