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From its humble beginnings at garages and community halls across Australia, CREATE is now a national organisation with offices in each state and territory with almost 50 staff and over 23,000 children and young people with a care experience as clubCREATE members.
CREATE’s model of Connect to Empower to Change has stood the test of time in terms of its effectiveness in helping children and young people feel less alone in their care experience and assisting them to develop the confidence to use their voice to improve the care system. We continue to play a vital role in the care sector today by ensuring the voices of children and young people are at the centre of decision and heard loud and clear. Over 20 years, led by the courage and strength of our Young Consultants, CREATE has contributed to many significant improvements to the care system, including;
- The development of a Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care in each state and territory
- The introduction of transition from care and post care services and legislation in each state a territory
- The establishment of a National Children’s Commissioner
- The development of National Standards for Out-of-Home Care
- Accreditation of service providers in Out-of-Home care
It’s been an amazing journey to get to this point but we can’t continue our work without your support. We need your to help elevate the voices of CYP in care by donating to our work today.
This year marks 21 years since the Australian Association of Children and Young People in Care (AAYPIC) became an independent incorporated organisation called the CREATE Foundation. AAYPIC itself was formed in 1993 by Jan Owen AM, who herself was adopted and then became a foster carer later in life. Through her work with homeless youth in Brisbane, Jan had met young people with a care experience and found that many were as much victims of the state care system as they had been victims of their own families. With these young people Jan formed and built AAYPIC – with lots of the key early work happening at the garage of Jan’s place in Brisbane! Read more about Jan’s life here.
AAYPIC was started because children and young people in care needed a voice in the decisions being made about their lives. It was made up of a variety of state and territory groups focused on promoting the voices of children and young people and in 1995 launched a major campaign called ‘The Seven Point Plan to Protect Children and Young People in Care Now and in the Future’ – a call to action by young people for uniform child welfare legislation, national standards of care, accreditation of service providers and the appointment of a Federal Children’s Commissioner.
In 1997, Andrew O’Brien, the then AAYPIC State Coordinator for New South Wales, clearly articulated the issues that needed to be tackled in achieving consumer participation by children and young people in care. He noted that just having a voice was different from the two way process of real participation, and identified three steps that AAYPIC adopted to encourage involvement by young people: (a) ‘(creating) regular opportunities for children and young people to come together to identify, discuss and resolve issues of concern to them and the service provider’; (b) ‘providing young people with the skills and facilities needed to support their actions’; and (c) ‘creating a structure by which children and young people in care can participate in an ongoing capacity’ ( 1997 , p. 57–58). These processes formed the basis for CREATE’s current ethos: Connect to Empower to Change.
In March 1999 AAYPIC networks met in Brisbane to form one combined non-profit organisation and call it CREATE – not an acronym but an action word – meaning to ‘create opportunities with and for children and young people in care.’
Read this article by CREATE’s Executive Director of Research, Joseph McDowall to learn more about CREATE and our history.