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Wellbeing data gives overview of WA children and young people

Government agencies and the private sector are urged to utilise a new data resource to better plan for the needs of WA’s children and young people.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit said his latest release of wellbeing data included both published and previously unpublished information to provide a single collated overview of how WA children and young people are faring.

“This resource is for policy makers and planners to make informed decisions on behalf of the 598,000 children and young people in WA, both now and into the future,” Mr Pettit said.

“Most children in WA are healthy, however we can identify areas of concern that need a stronger policy and service response and there are areas where we have gaps in the data.”

The Commissioner released the Healthy and connected data set today. Some of the key Indicators of Wellbeing data includes:

• Only 32.5 per cent of WA female children and young people aged 5 to 15 years were reported as meeting the physical activity guidelines, compared to 46.2 per cent of male WA children and young people.
• Children and young people in regional and remote areas of WA have a consistently higher rate of accessing public mental health services than children in Perth.
• Low proportions of children in the Perth metropolitan area received the 12-month child health check (53.0%) and the two-year child health check (28.9%) in 2017–18.
• The rates of alcohol use in 12-17 year olds is declining.
• In 2017 almost one in five (18%) WA young people reported having ever used an illicit drug.
• 61 per cent of sexually active young people do not always use condoms
• There are gaps in up-to-date data on the health of children in care.

“Importantly, the Indicators of Wellbeing are informed by the views of children and young people themselves on what wellbeing means to them and what it means to have a good life,” Mr Pettit said.

“Improving the data gaps and reliability of data should be a priority for everyone to assist in better decision making on behalf of children and young people.”

The data is structured by three age groups and across three domains: Learning and participating (now available), Healthy and connected (now available), and Safe and supported (to be released late 2019).