Every child and young person has rights. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty containing 54 articles that outline the rights of every young person up to the age of 18. You can find a simplified version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child here. Save the Children have developed a great booklet containing the rights and responsibilities of children, which can be accessed here.
The Australian Government also has its own set of expectations for how young people should be treated. These are the National Standards, and they include areas that are important to the wellbeing of all children and young people in care. These areas include things like participation, education, health, being connected to family and more. These areas have standards attached to them which set out the kind of treatment and support that a child or young person should expect when they are in care. Each standard also has guidelines on how it can be measured to make sure young people are receiving the care they deserve. Below is a table of the National Standards taken from the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.
There is currently in development a new framework called Safe and Supported: the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. We are expecting more information on this framework to come through by early-mid 2022, but from the current report we know that children and young people in out of home care form one of the priority groups under the new framework. You can read the preliminary report here.
Children and young people will be provided with stability and security during their time in care
Children and young people participate in decisions that have an impact on their lives.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities participate in decisions concerning the care and placement of their children and young people.
Each child and young person has an individualised plan that details their health, education and other needs.
Children and young people have their physical, developmental, psychosocial and mental health needs assessed and attended to in a timely way.
Children and young people in care access and participate in education and early childhood services to maximise their educational outcomes.
Children and young people up to at least 18 years are supported to be engaged in appropriate education, training and/or employment.
Children and young people in care are supported to participate in social and/or recreational activities of their choice, such as sporting, cultural or community activity.
Children and young people are supported to safely and appropriately maintain connection with family, be they birth parents, siblings or other family members.
Children and young people in care are supported to develop their identity, safely and appropriately, through contact with their families, friends, culture, spiritual sources and communities and have their life history recorded as they grow up.
Children and young people in care are supported to safely and appropriately identify and stay in touch, with at least one other person who cares about their future, who they can turn to for support and advice.
Carers are assessed and receive relevant ongoing training, development and support, in order to provide quality care.
Children and young people have a transition from care plan commencing at 15 years old which details support to be provided after leaving care.
In Queensland the law says that if you are in care you have certain rights, for example the right to have a say about your life or the right to receive a good education. So, if you are in care we think you should check out this cool poster that contains all the rights you are entitled to under the Qld Child Protection Act. Remember: Knowledge is Power!
There is also Kid’s Rights, a colouring in book aimed at younger children and My Journey in Care, which is a guide to being in care in Queensland with useful tips from young people with a care experience.
Children, young people are able to appeal some of the BIG decisions made by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. You (or a support person such as a carer) can ask the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to look into decisions made by the Department and in SOME cases it might be possible for these decisions to be reversed. For more information checkout this information sheet.
Children and young people in care in NSW have rights and everyone involved in their care has to make sure these rights are respected. Your rights include the right to be told why you are in care and to keep a record of your time in care. You also have the right to keep in touch with people who are important to you and the right to be involved in planning for your future. Your rights are protected by the law in NSW.
If you are aged between 7 and 12 you can learn more about your rights here, if you are aged between 13 and 17 you can learn more about your rights here.
There are lots of great videos on the Family and Community Services website explaining the Charter of Rights, here’s an example of one:
The ACT Charter of Rights sets out what children and young people can expect from the people who are caring for them or working with them while they’re in out-of-home care. You can take a look at the Charter of Rights here, and find some more fact sheets and extra information in the Useful Information section of this page here.
It’s also important to know how to make a complaint when things aren’t right, but it isn’t always easy to know how to complain or who to complain to. If you want to make a complaint in the ACT, you can access information on the complaints process here.
Planet Right & Getting it Right
Planet Right and Getting it Right were developed by CREATE in consultation with children and young people in 2010 as a way to communicate to children and young people in care what their rights are, according to the Charter for Children and Young People in Care that was developed by The Commission for Children and Young People.
The Imbedding the Charter Project in 2010 aimed to help children and young people better understand the Charter of Rights. This project included CREATE Foundation, Berry Street and VACCA, each agency developing different resources for specific audiences. CREATE consulted with children and young people to develop resources specific to children and young people under 12 and over 12.
Getting it right is written by young people and features young people with a care experience who take us through some of the rights from the charter, to make sure young people know what they have a right to feel, do, and ask for while in care and after they have left care.
Click here to download a Charter of Rights poster
Charter of Rights
Each child or young person in Tasmania living away from their birth parents in out of home care has rights. All of these rights are important –some might be more important to you than others. Some examples of your rights include the right to be treated fairly and with respect and the right to meetings along with your caseworker. The Tasmanian Commission for Children and Young People has produced some great resources to help children and young people in care to learn about their rights, check out the TAS Charter of Rights Poster and the TAS Charter of Rights Flipbook
Charter of Rights
CREATE in the NT was delighted when the Charter of Rights was released for young people in out of home care. CREATE were involved in helping figure out what rights were important for young people. There an awesome booklet that explains their rights and CREATE did lots of training with case workers about why it’s important that young people know about their rights. It’s case workers job to ensure you have a book and know who you can contact if you need help. CREATE always here to help explain it as well as we think it’s so important.
Check out these resources about the charter of rights:
Click here to download a Charter of Rights booklet
Click here to download a Charter of Rights poster
All children and young people in care have a rights! Rights for children and young people in care in Western Australia include the right to keep in touch with friends and family whenever possible and the right to keep your personal belongings in a safe place. Check out the specific rights resources for children and young people of different ages to help them learn about their rights and stand up for themselves:
CREATE and the WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support (DCPFS) started work on this resource after a lot of young people reported having difficulties accessing files and records and inconsistent information provided to them, for example, costs associated with accessing files, what information they could access and how to get this information. Together, CREATE Young Consultants and the policy team at DCPFS created a flow chart for young people to help them understand how they could access their information. They also created a set of Frequently Asked Questions to go with the flow chart.
CREATE worked on this project about children and young people in care speaking up with the Commissioner for Children and Young People Western Australia. The 86 children and young people who provided input into the project shared advice for adults and others in care about how worries and concerns can be handled in the best way. The full version of the report is here and the young person friendly version of the report can be found here.
The Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care in South Australia explains rights of children and young people who are under the guardianship or in the custody of the Minister for Education and Child Development. You can learn more about what the charter says here.
The South Australian Parliament has made a law that says any person involved with children in care, such as a social worker or a carer, must know about the charter and seek to make sure all children and young people in care have the rights that are outlined in the charter. The charter is promoted and monitored by the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People.
CREATE and the SA Office of the Guardian has partnered to make resources to help children and young people in residential care speak up issues that concern them.
There’s the Post Incident Reflection Form developed with input from young people in residential care to help children and young people have their say after incidents occur .
Also available is a set of posters, brochures and two videos which tell children and young people in residential care about their rights and ways to address issues.
Click here to download the brochure for children under 12
Click here to download the brochure for young people 12 and above
Click here to download the poster for children under 12
Click here to download the poster for young people 12 and above
Check out the videos below!