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Child carers ban book

Daryl Passmore, news.com.au, April 01, 2007

Australia's largest childcare chain has banned a frank new children's storybook that talks about genitalia. Everyone's Got A Bottom, to be launched by Family Planning Queensland on Tuesday, is aimed at children as young as two.

Family Planning says the picture book is a ground-breaking initiative that will help protect youngsters against sexual abuse.

It has the backing of C&K (formerly the Creche and Kindergarten Association) and child protection group Brave-hearts.

But ABC Learning Centres has refused to use the new book in more than a thousand centres throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The picture book will also be promoted to all state primary schools and public libraries across Queensland.

"It's a real landmark," said Family Planning research and development officer Holly Brennan, who had the idea for the book.

"It's part of a long campaign to look at providing evidence-based child protection education. We want to teach parents and carers to be open with their children."

Ms Brennan said she knew that some parents would find the book's contents confronting.

"It's been interesting showing the book to people who don't work in the industry." They say, 'Well, there are some words I've never seen in a children's book'."

Research since the 1970s had shown that talking openly and plainly and referring to body parts by their correct anatomical names was important in giving children the ability and confidence to disclose if anything was happening to them.

A spokesman for ABC Learning Centres, which operates more than 300 childcare sites around Queensland, said it had been approached to use the new book in its centres but declined because it did not think it appropriate to do so.

"As part of our LifeSmart healthy and physical learning program we cover a range of issues related to a child's sense of self."

"We respect the right of families to discuss more private issues in their own time and their own way."

Australian Family Association Queensland secretary Angelique Barr said she felt the book went too far.

"I do think our children need our protection more than ever before, but it's a great shame that in doing that, many adults want to impart so much knowledge that children lose their innocence."

Copies of the book are available for $ 16 each from Family Planning Queensland. Call 3250 0240 or visit www.fpq.com.au

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