Australia’s Youth Engagement Strategy
CREATE recently provided a submission to the Office for Youth on Australia’s Youth Engagement Strategy. Our submission urged the Office for Youth to embed additional processes that truly harness the voices of young people, especially those with a care experience as partners and leaders. We also highlighted the need for reform to:
- better support the needs of young people transitioning from care in the face of the cost of living and housing crisis,
- progress implementation of the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as an authoritative mechanism that protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and
- ensure the full realisation of the 54 interdependent and indivisible rights of the child as enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
The CREATE Foundation highly commends the work of the Office for Youth and the deliberate efforts to date to engage with young people across Australia.
Landmark forum in New South Wales announced to help reshape outcomes for Aboriginal children and families
The CREATE Foundation welcomed the announcement that AbSec and the New South Wales Government will be hosting a two-day forum to develop a reform roadmap to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care. New South Wales has the highest number of children in care than any other Australian jurisdiction. As of June 2022, there were 15,223 children and young people in out of home care in NSW, 6,661 of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (AIHW, 2023).
We look forward to seeing the development of a robust reform framework that places cultural heritage and lived experience at the centre to help reduce the overrepresentation Aboriginal children in care and improve wellbeing and safety outcomes.
Reference: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). Child protection Australia 2021–22. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2021-22
Tasmanian Government launches new website to provide the community with information about keeping children safe and who to contact if you need help.
The new website, tellsomeone.tas.gov.au, is an important initiative in Tasmania that aligns with the Independent Inquiry into the former Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendation to focus on child sexual abuse prevention strategies.
Information available on the website is tailored to parents, community members, and children: https://tellsomeone.tas.gov.au/
Queensland Residential Care Review
Last month, the Queensland Government announced a review into the residential care system, following concerns raised in the media. The review will involve a consultation process with the public to collect views on how to improve residential care in QLD. The voices of young people who are or have been in residential care are especially important.
There are different ways for young people to get involved. CREATE is organizing a YAG on Wednesday 13th September 4pm to 6pm for young people with a residential care experience to have their say about their personal experience and make recommendations for future improvements.
To learn more about the review and how to get involved, visit our post: Queensland Government’s Review of the Residential Care System – CREATE Foundation
Queensland Child Rights Report
The Queensland Family and Child Commission has published the Queensland Child Rights Report 2023, which provides an analysis of how children and young people’s rights, which are protected by international human rights law, are observed in this state. The report includes a spotlight on youth justice, and highlights areas where Queensland legislation and practices limit or contradict children’s rights. A youth friendly version of the report is available here.
Youth justice and raising the age of criminal responsibility
CREATE was shocked by the Queensland Government’s decision override its own Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) earlier this month to allow children to continue being locked up in adult watch houses. While some state governments have recently committed to at least raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 or 14 over a period of years, Queensland has taken a further step backwards, violating children’s rights and exacerbating Queensland’s already broken youth justice system that disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children with an out-of-home care experience. Please see CREATE’s media release here: ADULT WATCH HOUSES ARE NO PLACE FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS SAYS CREATE FOUNDATION – CREATE Foundation
CREATE also co-signed a joint letter prepared by SACOSS to the South Australian Attorney-General, urging them to legislate to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
ACT’s Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2023 introduced to Parliament this month
ACT’s Minister for Families and Community Services Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, introduced the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2023 into the ACT Legislative Assembly on Wednesday 28 of August. The introduction of the Bill is a priority reform under the ACT’s strategy for strengthening families and keeping children and young people safe, Next Steps for Our Kids 2022-2030.
CREATE welcomes the introduction of the Bill as a key step towards fully embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle into legislation, implementing a key recommendation of the Our Booris, Our Way review.
Tasmania’s Commission of Inquiry concludes
In March 2021, the Tasmanian Government established the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings. The Commission of Inquiry’s president, Marcia Naeve, stated at the final hearing in Hobart on Wednesday 28 August “Although we believe that children are now safer in Tasmanian institutions than was the case in the past, more work needs to be done” (cited in Lohberger, 2023).
CREATE anticipates the release of the final report of the Commission of Inquiry and the 191 Recommendations that the Rockliff Government has committed to fully and thoroughly implementing to better safeguard children and young people from experiencing harm.
Reference: Lohberger, L. (2023). Tasmania’s child sex abuse commission of inquiry wraps up with final hearing in Hobart. ABC News. Tasmania’s child sex abuse commission of inquiry wraps up with final hearing in Hobart – ABC News
Update on CREATE’s consultations
CREATE’s annual consultations are underway in the following states:
- New South Wales (Health and Wellbeing – for ages 14-17)
- Victoria (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
- Western Australia (Accessing Records for ages 18-25 )
- Australian Capital Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
- Northern Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
If you are a young person with a care experience in one of these states and would like to participate in one of our consultations, please get in touch with your state team: https://create.org.au/state-teams/
If you would like to know more about CREATE’s consultations please check out our website: https://create.org.au/consultations/
CREATE has recently completed a review into the Client Management System for the state of Victoria. The review focused on the experiences of young people in residential care who reported incidents of harm or neglect while in care, and provides feedback on how to improve safety and wellbeing in out-of-home care.
CREATE has now published summaries of last year’s consultation reports!
After a mammoth sprint from the team, we’re really pleased to share the summaries from CREATE’s consultations over the past 18 months. These are bite-sized summaries of what young people have told us across a range of topic areas including health and wellbeing, education, housing, sibling connections, participation in decision making, extended support to 21 and case worker support.
Check them out here: https://create.org.au/consultations/
- The Australian National University (ANU) is seeking research participants for their youth mental health study. Researchers at the ANU are hoping to learn more about young Australians’ access to mental health care services, barriers to accessing care when it is needed, and ideas about improving these services in the future. If you are aged 16-25 and want to take part in a 60-minute interview, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
- YWCA Canberra’s 2023 Our Lives: women in the ACT Survey is open. If you are aged 16+, identify as a woman or non-binary people, and live, work, or study in Canberra and the surrounding region YWCA Canberra wants to hear from you for their biannual survey of women’s experiences and needs living in Canberra: YWCA Canberra: Our Lives: Women in the ACT 2023 (ywca-canberra.org.au)
- Have your say on the Queensland Government review of the residential care system. Views of young people with residential care experience are particularly relevant. Submit them on the online portal or join CREATE’s online event: https://create.org.au/get-involved-in-queenslands-residential-care-review/
- The Queensland Government is seeking feedback to develop new measures to protect children from Child Sexual Abuse. Send a submission with comments and suggestions on the proposed document “Growing Child Safe Organisations in Queensland”: https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/support-victims-abuse/growing-child-safe-organisations
- The Western Australia Government is developing a Youth Action Plan, and has opened for consultations. Share your idea about what strategies and improvement could be beneficial for youth in WA: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-communities/new-action-plan-young-people-western-australia
- The My Life in Care Survey is open. If you are living in out-of-home care in Queensland and are between 10 and 18, complete the survey online: https://www.dcssds.qld.gov.au/campaign/my-life-in-care-survey