13 August 2015 | General Interest
Based on consultations with more than 1200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, the WA Commissioner for Children and Young People has released three reports highlighting the most important issues children in the state face.
The reports were produced with the aim of bringing the views of Aboriginal children and young people directly to the WA Parliament and broader community, so that their voices can be used to improve policy and service delivery.
The Commissioner appointed consultations throughout Western Australia; more than 70% of visits occurred outside of metropolitan areas, spanning 27 Aboriginal and remote communities. Consultations were designed to be creative, fun, and engaging. They included music performances, art activities, as well as visits to culturally significant sites.
The publications are prepared in different formats:
- Listen To Us: Using the views of WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to improve policy and service delivery – the official report released by the Commissioner and tabled in state parliament. This document focuses on ways to apply the views of young children to support their wellbeing and healthy development. Chapters are thematically organized (family and community, culture, education, and recreational activities), with each one presenting principles of good practice. The final chapter hones in on the importance of addressing racism and reconciliation.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Speak Out – Community report expressing the views of children who took part in the conversation. Also thematically organized, the document presents many powerful quotes.
- This is Me: Aboriginal young people’s stories – Twelve inspiring profiles of youths who are working to build strong and healthy communities.
Across the reports participating youths highlighted the importance of maintaining strong family connections and of working towards more cohesive communities. Most notably, youths expressed a sense of respect for their culture and strong pride in their heritage. While many positive influences were discussed, conversations also identified significant concerns regarding the health and safety of children, families, and friends.
“Children and young people expressed great hope and bold visions for the future, and provided many insights into what support they need to reach their goals.”