New resources and a learning game for young people leaving care

A group of young people with care experience boldly reclaimed the term ‘GOM’ (for Guardianship of Minister) with the recent launch of the GOM Central website and the GOM City phone app.

The launch was the culmination of seven months of hard work by project manager Eleanor Goodbourn and the focus group of people who were, or who had recently been, in state care.

‘The need for a project like this had been discussed long before I arrived in April,’ she said.

‘Relationships Australia SA has been providing post care support services for a long time now but were aware that there were some young people who were not accessing service in the current form.

‘Was there a way to support and assist young people who did not access services? In particular, we thought about those who had left care and suddenly found themselves isolated and lacking some of the basic skills you need to get along living on your own.

‘We ran an online survey, testing some ideas about a website and brought the results back to our focus group.  The idea of a game app. caught the imagination of the focus group right away and that became the germ of GOM City.

GOM City

Mighty Kingdom, who are a locally-based but internationally known game developer came on board for the game app.  It was their first venture into social learning games and they were very enthusiastic.

‘Playing the GOM City game teaches some basic skills like budgeting, remembering important events and managing a household.  But the current form of the game could be only the beginning.  There is huge potential in the framework of the game to add in other levels to incorporate other skills.

‘We have made sure that the skills taught in the game align with the Australian Core Skills Framework so those skills can be formally recognised in other domains.  We will be looking for funds to develop this aspect further in the future.

‘You can download the app. free at the iOS App Store or from Google play.

GOM Central

‘The GOM Central website is for all young people in care or who have been in care.  We’ve got a lot of information and links that they can dip into any time when they need it.  We also have a number of videos featuring young people with stories about their time in care, letting them know that they are not alone and they have experiences in common with others. They also share advice and information. One of things we learned in focus groups is how important peer to peer learning is with this group of people.

‘The site also hosts a blog which offers visitors the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge.

‘The young people who have been on this journey with us are the real heroes. They generously shared their ideas and experiences and trialled the games – and you may see some of them on the videos!’


IPS has bags of goodies for children entering emergency care

The IPS team’s Bruno Rocca and Robert Griffin take delivery of the first batch of bags for children entering emergency care from Nicole Pilkington and Lisa Pham from the Guardian’s Office.

6 March, 2017

‘When Bruno Rocca approached the Guardian’s Office a few months ago the Intensive Placement Services team were already providing Oogs and some other of the Guardian’s materials to the children coming into emergency care,’ said Charter of Rights Coordinator Nicole Pilkington.

‘He was looking for a way to streamline the process to make sure that all children received materials that were suitable to their age and Aboriginality while keeping it simple and practical for the members of the busy IPS team.

‘We devised three seprate packs for teenagers, pre-teens and Aboriginal children and arranged with Bruno to have them assembled and delivered to the IPS team offices.

‘We hope this is only the start.  There are already ideas to replace the bags with something more durable and useful like backpacks and to supplement the contents with other useful items like writing and drawing materials and colouring-in books.

‘It has been great to work with the IPS.  Perhaps in the future, other groups may want to make up their own customised packs that add value and usefulness to the Guardian’s materials for the children in their care,’ she said.

Full details of the materials available to organisations that have endorsed the Charter of Rights for distribution to children in state care are available on the Requesting materials page of the Guardian’s website.

Poster of rights for Aboriginal young people in care

18 October, 2016

Our Office’s experience talking with Aboriginal children and young people was confirmed in a consultation with young people earlier this year. They told us that the same messages and artwork that appeal to other young people may not connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

‘ hand drawn images – they are made by heart, computer generated images are made by nothing’

Aboriginal young person at the
Tandanya consultation in January 2016

Charter of Rights coordinator Nicole Pilkington said, ‘We wanted to create something that Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander young people, all Aboriginal people, would not only read but would be happy to have on their walls.

‘We were fortunate to connect with Ramindjeri/Ngarrindjeri artist Teresa Walker.

‘Teresa’s work has strong cultural influences and also has a modern vibrancy and energy that makes it stand out.

‘The messages about the rights of children and young people in care will be essentially the same but tailored to the culture and aesthetics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.’



Teresa’s work will form the basis of a large poster that talks about four main rights that will also be available in smaller sizes. She will be working closely with designers Sue and Chris from SD Design who produced the new booklets and posters for the 2016 re-launch of the Charter of Rights.

The posters will be published in October and will be available to agencies that have endorsed the Charter of Rights via the Guardian’s materials ordering page.

This story was first published in the Guardian’s August 2016 Newsletter.

Download the August 2016 Guardian’s Newsletter in PDF now.

We’d love to publish your comment – please use the reply space below.

The August 2016 edition of the Guardian’s Newsletter


2 September 2016

pictur eof front conver of the August 2016 guardians newsletterThis edition of the Guardian’s Quarterly Newsletter features:

> The story of Ngarrindjeri  woman Olivia Brownsey and Wagadagam woman Loyola Wills and their project to provide overnight bags containing essential items to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people coming into emergency care.

> How new posters promoting the Charter of Rights specially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are being developed featuring the work of Ramindjeri/Ngarrindjeri artist Teresa Walker.

> The Guardian’s thoughts on Commissioner Nyland’s report on child protection and the hope and prospects for major reforms.

> The Office’s monitoring of residential care is now to have a greater focus on cultural support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.

> Seven young people give us seven lessons on ‘Having a Say’.

> What the Guardian’s Office has been up to in June, July and August.

download button

Changes to the Charter of Rights – results of the Charter Champions’ Survey

words chater of rights in a speech bubbleAs well as speaking with over 30 children and many adult stakeholders about necessary changes to the Charter of Rights, the Guardian invited Charter Champions to have a say via an online survey.  There were many specific observations made by respondents to the survey which you can read in the survey report at the link below. The general thrust of comments was very similar to those from other sources, such as:

  • the content of the Charter and the way it was expressed were pretty much OK with some minor wording changes
  • there was need for more age/literacy level relevant material explaining rights to children
  • there was a great need for tools and materials for workers, carers and others to discuss rights with children
  • there was a need for more education material to assist individuals to learn and organisations to inform staff how to make use of the rights in their work with children.

Many thanks to the Charter Champions who were able to contribute and especially to those who offered to be beta testers for future Charter materials.  We will be in touch!

Download the Charter champions Survey results.

download button

CEASEFIRE! comic speaks on resolving conflict

collage of oictures from the launch of the CEASEFIRE comic

Long-time contributor to the project Tamara Barrow spoke on the importance of involving young people in decisions that affect them and assisted Guardian, Pam Simmons to open and distribute the first copies to the contributors. Pictured getting their copies signed by young contributors are Families SA’s Greg Dart who supported the young people from the Mt Barker office, Rec Cross’s Steven Ingham and Deputy CE (Child Safety) David Waterford from DECD.


The CEASEFIRE! comic was officially launched at the Carclew Youth ARTS Centre on Monday 23 June.

It was developed in consultation with 21 young people who worked with artist Richard Dall and writer Daniel Watson over a period of 18 months to produce a comic on resolving conflict.

The launch was organised by the project co-ordinator Jodie Evans to acknowledge the essential role played by the young people from CREATE, Mt Barker and the Noarlunga Nungas.

The comic can be ordered from the materials page of the Guardian’s website for distribution to young people in care by organisations that have endorsed the Charter of Rights .

link to GCYP twitter

New comic is on the way

girl 1You want a recipe for some serious fun?

Try creating a comic to help young people in care to see better ways to deal with the conflict in their lives.  This was the task the Guardian’s Office set itself in September 2012.

Our first rule is to ask – and we did.  We listened closely and tried to engage with each of the young advisors, sometimes breaking into smaller groups to give the quiet ones a go.

And plenty of young people offered to talk to us.  A group of young people from Mount Barker started us off and were joined next time by a group from CREATE. Then we were invited to chat to the Noarlunga Nungaz who gave us and writer Daniel their insight into how they dealt with conflict situations.  We got some revealing insights and anecdotes and the first inklings of how we might use comic superheroes to tell the story.

At the most recent meeting, it was show and share time for artist Richard and writer Daniel as some of the young people from Mt Barker and the CREATE gang got their first look at the plot and sketches of the characters.

At the most recent meeting, it was show and share time for artist Richard and writer Daniel as some of the young people from Mt Barker and the CREATE gang got their first look at the plot and sketches of the characters.

Sometimes it is not easy to hear feedback and to be prepared to change or drop ideas if you are told you are not on the right track.  And the group had plenty to say about the details and a major change of character.

In early May we will revisit the Noarlunga Nungaz and incorporate their take on the plot and characters.

Then it will be scribble, scribble for Richard for a few weeks before the young people take their final look at a draft and have final sign-off.

After the most recent meeting, comic coordinator Jodie Evans said, ‘It can be a huge amount of work and take a long time to contact young people, pitch the idea to them and get them together for meetings.  But however long it takes, they are the experts and it is the only way to make sure you end up with a product that really works.’

So huge thanks to the experts: Barbara, Ellie, Jasmine, Jessica,  Julian, Kayla, Matthew, Michael, Morgan, Nakita, the three Sarahs, Sonja, the two Tamaras, and Willow,comic 1 crop

to the people at Families SA Mount Barker, CREATE SA and The Second Story at Christies Beach

and to the intrepid creatives Daniel Watson and Richard Dall.

The comic will go to press by the middle of the year and be distributed wherever there are young South Australians in care.

Follow the progress of the comic on our Twitter feed.

link to twitter

Children with disabilities learning about their rights

photo of open box with carers bookletThe Guardian’s Office  celebrates 2011 International Human Rights Day with the launch of six sets of flashcards for teaching children and young people with disabilities about their rights.  The cards simplify the 37 rights in South Australia’s Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care into seven key messages in sets tailored to suit three ability groups for girls and young women and three for boys and young men.

The cards were designed after consultation and testing with children with disabilities and their families, and with the guidance of a reference group.

Each boxed set of cards comes with a booklet for carers and other adults which explains the cards and gives practical advice on how they can be used.

The cards are being distributed to children in care in South Australia by Disability Services.

For the latest on children’s rights and the Charter of Rights join our Twitter feed.

link to twitter