Children and young people articulate their greatest challenges arising from COVID-19

Children and young people articulate their greatest challenges arising from COVID-19

by Freya Lucas

August 28, 2020

Fittingly, a recent conference on children’s rights has ended with a statement delivered by children and young people in attendance, in which they identified the five greatest challenges facing children and young people in Australia in 2020. 


The Child and Youth Statement, facilitated by World Vision Australia, listed COVID-19, climate change, Indigenous children’s rights, citizenship and mental health as the most urgent challenges facing our next generation, calling for “smart partnership” with adults and policy makers to help resolve the challenges. 


As well as identifying the issues, the statement presents the perspectives of children and young people on the challenges they face, and what they would like to see change. 


One of the contributors to the statement, Jessika Swarbrick, contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, despite doing “all the right things” to guard against it. 


“The COVID-19 pandemic has made me incredibly uncertain about my future,” she said.

The statement calls for Governments to ensure measures put in place to control the pandemic are child-friendly, as well as seeking to classify child protection and social workers as essential services, and to provide resources to respond to the needs of children and young people during and after COVID-19. 


Arising from the CRC30 conference on children’s rights, which was held in Melbourne late last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the statement was due to be published in line with the start of the new school term in February, but was derailed by the arrival of COVID-19. 


The delay however allowed children and young people to reflect on and share their experiences of dealing with life amidst a pandemic. 


To view the statement in full, please see here