SA welcomes Shona Reid as its newest Guardian for Children and Young People
The Sector > Research > Allied Fields > SA welcomes Shona Reid as its newest Guardian for Children and Young People

SA welcomes Shona Reid as its newest Guardian for Children and Young People

by Freya Lucas

July 11, 2022

Proud Eastern Arrernte woman Shona Reid, Reconciliation South Australia’s Chief Executive, will become the state’s newest Guardian for Children and Young People, effective 1 August 2022. 


Ms Reid is expected to bring “remarkable insight” to the advocacy role for children and young people in care. As well as becoming the Guardian, Ms Reid will take on the roles of Child and Young Person Visitor, Training Centre Visitor and Youth Treatment Order Visitor.


The Child and Young Person Visitor function was reinstated to the Office of the Guardian by the State Government as part of the June State Budget, receiving funding of $1.87 million over the next four years.


Ms Reid is excited about the opportunity to “challenge what we think is unchangeable,” and “an opportunity to critique systems and inspire”.


“The holding of this office is both a privilege and honour,” she continued. “A privilege to listen intently to children and young people and truly hear their words. An honour to always be there ‘no matter what’. No matter how tough things get, no matter how complicated life is. The honour to be the constant advocate and change maker.”


Ms Reid is a mother of seven, three of whom she is a “second mum” to. 


“I know too well that it takes a village to grow kids up well,” she said, describing a sense of collective responsibility to ensure that the community and society in which we grow and nurture children and young people upholds their rights and protects their interests.


“That’s what excites me about this position. That we get to further define how our society does this and that children and young people in our village are more than surviving, they are thriving,” she added.


Katrine Hildyard, South Australia’s Minister for Child Protection, said the Guardian role is critical in advocating for children and young people in care and in empowering their voices.


“As Minister, I am viscerally determined to progress positive change on the complex and often interconnected issues that children and their families face,” Ms Hildyard said.


“I look forward to working together with Shona…through amplifying the voices of children and young people in care and ensuring they play a key role in decision making about their care and all aspects of their lives.” 


Ms Reid’s advocacy work with communities across the state will support and empower her success in the Guardian role. 


Ms Hildyard thanked outgoing Guardian Penny Wright for her dedication and commitment to children during her term. 


Ms Wright, who has held the position since 2017, said “hanging out with remarkable kids for five years has been an absolute pleasure”.


“Although they are all unique individuals I have noticed they often have great compassion and loyalty, especially for their siblings and other children and young people in care or detention, and I’ve been awed by their determination to use their experiences to make a difference for others,” she added. 


“It is very satisfying to see something that needs fixing and being able to work with others to make a difference, big and small.  I have seen a young person, after several years of persistence, meet brothers he had never known, and a child finally moving out of residential care to live with a grandparent interstate.”


“Shona, this will be one of the hardest, but best, jobs you will ever have. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and be fearless and unrelenting in your advocacy, guided by the voice of the children and young people and motivated only by their best interests.”


Learn more about the Guardian role here

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