As a society, our goal must be for all children and young people to achieve their potential. In WA, particular cohorts of children and young people face significant vulnerability and disadvantage and do not have adequate support and resources to overcome the challenges they experience.
At the culmination of 10 years of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s office, it is timely to listen and reflect on what more than 11,000 children and young people in WA have told us about their lives. In doing so, it is clear that more needs to be done to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children and young people.
In March 2018, the Commissioner released a discussion paper to inform and challenge current thinking on factors that influence vulnerability to harm and lessen outcomes for children and young people. Through their voices, the paper provides a unique perspective to advance a collective understanding of vulnerability and how to best address the causes and reduce the impact on children and young people.
To progress the ideas set out in the discussion paper, the Commissioner hosted a program of events in 2018 focused on vulnerable children and young people in our community.
The Vulnerability Speaker Series featured presentations from a variety of international, national and distinguished WA leaders and brought together government leaders, staff from the community services sector, policy officers and academics to explore how best to address the challenges facing vulnerable children and young people in WA and inform effective strategic responses.
Rio Tinto was Principal Partner of the Vulnerability Speaker Series in recognition of the importance of supporting vulnerable children and young people to reach their full potential.
Improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal children seminar
24 August 2018
The third seminar explored Aboriginal-led initiatives that have brought about positive change for Aboriginal children and young people. It examined the particular importance of supporting Aboriginal leadership and nurturing young Aboriginal leaders to help address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in vulnerability statistics.
- Mick Gooda, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
- Winthrop Professor Helen Milroy, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia. Professor Milroy was a Commissioner for the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Seminar presentation - Improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal children
23 August 2018
A closed-session, one-day forum provided an opportunity to involve Aboriginal leaders in workshop discussions about creating Aboriginal-led solutions in WA to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people.
Attendees explored the issues, barriers and concerns they experience in relation to guest speakers’ presentations and discussed what changes and solutions are needed to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people in WA. Guest speakers included:
High level summary report - Aboriginal forum - 23 August 2018
Detailed summary report - Aboriginal forum - 23 August 2018
The role of services in assisting vulnerable children and young people seminar
17 May 2018
The second seminar in the Vulnerability Speaker Series explored the role of service providers in delivering effective, practical interventions to assist vulnerable children and young people.
Seminar presentation - The role of services in assisting vulnerable children and young people
Understanding vulnerability in children and young people seminar
20 March 2018
The first seminar in the Vulnerability Speaker Series featured two of the Commissioner’s Ambassadors for Children and Young People - Winthrop Professor Stephen Zubrick and Professor Donna Cross from the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor Alan Duncan from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre.
Professor Zubrick reviewed evidence around how particular factors contribute to poorer outcomes for children and young people and highlight the points of intervention most likely to have a positive impact. Professor Donna Cross explored the direct impact of poverty on children and young people’s vulnerability and Professor Duncan explored the economic impact of vulnerability to society.
Seminar presentation - Understanding vulnerability in children and young people
Opinion piece by Mick Gooda published in The West Australian - Friday 24 August 2018
Opinion piece by Judge Andrew Becroft in The West Australian - Thursday 17 May 2018
Opinion piece by Commissioner Pettit published in The West Australian - Tuesday 20 March 2018
Thank you to Rio Tinto for its proud support of the Vulnerability Speaker Series.