Youth Advisory Committee
The Youth Advisors now meet as the Youth Advisory Committee and in the past months they have advised on topics such as contact with siblings, Life Story Books, Other Person Guardianship, the ending of relationships with social workers and their experience of using complaints mechanisms.
Advocate visits to residential care
In the three months October to December, there were eight visits made by the Office’s advocates to children and young people in residential care and the youth training centres to listen to their views about their residence and circumstances.
Rights materials for young people with disabilities
In December, we released six sets of flash cards and a user guide to assist young people with disabilities to understand their rights and what they can fairly expect. Thanks to the 35 young people, their families, the advisory committee and the Office staff who brought is ten month project to fruition. The card sets will be distributed to children in care through Disability Services and other disability agencies.
Sibling contact report
In December we released the report of our inquiry into what children say about contact with their siblings and the impact contact has on their wellbeing. The full report and a summary are available on our website.
We worked with our colleagues in children’s commissioners and guardians around Australia to produce a second book on what children say about their world. It focussed on children’s rights and children’s experience and views. Our thanks to Leonie Wanklyn and her 2011 class at Port Lincoln Junior Primary for their contribution.
Implementation of the Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children, Young People and their Families (ISG) continues apace with many more non-government organisations adopting them, following development of their own procedures for safe and secure exchange of personal information. Improved information sharing is a focus of the National Women’s Safety Strategy and the contribution the ISG can make to this important work is being explored. Planning for the 2012 review of ISG implementation is underway. We are partnering with the Australian Centre for Child Protection as a component of evaluating ISG implementation.
Mental health services for young people in care
The Office reviewed 60 case files to better understand how the mental health needs of children in care are being met. We will publish a summary of the findings of that review within the next few months.
Audits of annual reviews
In the last quarter of 2011 the Office audited 73 annual reviews of the circumstances of children in care. A summary of the audit report for 2010-11 was released in September.
On 24 November the Guardian’s Annual Report was tabled in Parliament and its observations on the situation of young people in care were re-presented in The Year in Review published in December.