Commissioner urges leaders to listen to South Australia’s regional children and young people

by Lyndsie Clark

February 27

The South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People Helen Connolly has urged community leaders, including those involved in early childhood education and care (ECEC) provision, to listen to young people in regional areas of the state, and to support what they are trying to achieve, so they can feel connected to their communities, after soliciting feedback from from young people aged 0 to 26 years of age.

 

Ms Connolly said that many young people in regional South Australia are not hopeful about achieving their dreams because the opportunities they need are not currently available.

 

The Commissioner’s Hopes and Dreams report, released today, is the first of its kind to provide information on what  South Australia’s regional children and young people have to say about what life is like for them in regional locations; what their hopes and dreams are, what they wish for by the time they are 25, and what decision makers can do to help them realise their goals.

 

The report captures feedback from the Commissioner’s regional engagement tour, which included consultation with more than 600 children and young people at 43 sessions held across the Riverland, Murray Bridge, Yorke Peninsula, Ceduna, the Barossa Valley, Whyalla, the Adelaide Hills and the MidMurray regions throughout 2018.

 

The feedback gathered from children and young people aged 0 to 26 years of age, from various cultural backgrounds and of differing abilities and circumstances, built on the information gathered from earlier visits to regional communities undertaken on the Commissioner’s 2017 Listening Tour.

 

Emerging themes detailed in the report include the need:

 

  • for young people to feel more connected to their communities;
  • to have creative opportunities supported; and,
  • to be given roles in their communities that build their confidence and competence.

 

These themes, in particular the need to connect meaningfully to community, follow the themes presented in the approved learning frameworks for ECEC.

 

The report will be distributed to local leaders and decision makers in the communities visited. Further work will include discussions with government and non-government organisations to provide more opportunities for the voices of children and young people to be heard in key decision-making forums to help create regional communities in which children and young people want to build their futures.

 

On average children and young people represent 25 per cent of the total population residing in each of the major locations visited, indicating the substantial value this group offers for creating sustainable futures in these regions, if decision makers work to facilitate realisation of their hopes and dreams as expressed.

 

Ms Connolly was appointed to the role of Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2017 and is responsible for promoting and advocating for the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people across South Australia.

 

For more information about the work of the Commissioner for Children and Young People visit www.ccyp.com.au  

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