About the Guardian's Office

photo of Penny Wright

Penny Wright Guardian for Children and Young People in Care

The Guardian's role

The Guardian is appointed to advocate for and promote the rights and best interests of the children and young people under the guardianship of the Chief Executive for the Department for Child Protection.

Monitoring wellbeing

The Guardian’s monitors the circumstances of children under guardianship in a number of ways. Our staff visit children and young people in residential care and in the Adelaide Youth Training Centre. We talk to the residents, observe their situation and talk to their carers. We address issues with the care providers directly as the situation requires and provide reports to the Minister.

Our staff also audit some of the annual reviews for children and young people conducted at Department for Child Protection offices, monitoring the quality of their care and the effectiveness of case planning in meeting their needs.

Our observations and interventions are based on the Monitoring Framework derived from the Charter of Rights (see below) and based on 12 statements of our aspirations for children and young people in care.

Our observations during monitoring sometimes lead us to undertake individual advocacy or to advocate on systemic issues.

Individual advocacy

The Office responds to concerns raised by children and young people in care themselves or by their advocates. In some cases matters are referred to a more suitable agency, while others are resolved quickly with a brief inquiry or conversation. For more intractable matters, the Office may launch an investigation and actively advocate for the best interests of the child or young person.

Systems advocacy

Where there are shortfalls in the services provided, the Office will work to see them addressed. The Guardian can investigate any matter of concern and may produce reports on major issues, make recommendations to the Minister and work directly to address policy and practice issues with government and non-government agencies.

The Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care

The Office is responsible for the promotion and review of the Charter of Rights. The Charter was developed after consultation with children and young people, carers, social workers and people from government and NGOs in 2005-06. The Charter is at the core of the Office’s monitoring and advocacy. We publish and distribute the Charter, promote it with posters and assist agencies to endorse the Charter and apply it in their policy and practice. See the Charter of Rights page for more information.

Information and materials for children and young people in care

The Office publishes a booklet, Being in Care, and a range of products featuring Oog, the safety symbol for children and young people in care, free for distribution to them. See Charter of Rights materials for children for the full suite.

You can download a printable fact-sheet About the Office of the Guardian.