Causon interim Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Advocate
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Causon interim Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Advocate

by Freya Lucas

November 30, 2022

Wiradjuri woman Barbara Causon PSM has been appointed to the role of Interim Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Advocate by the Australian Capital Territory government.

 

Her appointment comes as the ACT Government progresses towards establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner as part of its commitment to fully implement recommendations from the Our Booris, Our Way report.

 

The report recommended a new specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner to help address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the child protection system and ensure their needs are better met within the system.

 

“Ms Causon has been key in steering the Our Booris, Our Way process and has a strong commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children live their best lives, connected to their community, culture and country,” said ACT Minister for Families and Community Services Rachel Stephen-Smith.

 

Legislation to establish the Commissioner position was introduced to parliament in September after the role was co-designed with the ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. With further legislation due to be passed by the end of the year, it is expected that the government will begin recruiting for the longer term Commissioner in early 2023.

 

Ms Causon brings a significant amount of experience to the role as a senior public servant and a key advocate for child protection reform to address the overrepresentation of First Nationsfamilies in the system.

 

“As a proud Wiradjuri woman, I am looking forward to bringing my personal experience and professional experience as Chair of the Our Booris, Our Way Steering Committee and Implementation Oversight Committee to the Advocate role,” she said.

 

“I am also pleased to see that the ACT government has undertaken an extensive process in conjunction with Jumbunna Institute to set up the critical role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner.” 

 

It is hoped that the Commissioner role will help reduce the number of First Nations children entering the system, improve the experience of those children who are in out of home care and restore children to their families wherever possible.

 

ACT Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne said it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the Territory are supported in the interim by a trusted member of the Indigenous community, telling the National Indigenous Times that the appointment of Ms Gauson as a trusted community member was a positive step. 

 

“I am very pleased that Ms Causon, a Wiradjuri woman with significant experience supporting the interests of families and children involved in the child protection system, will fill the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Advocate while the Commissioner role is being established,” she told the paper.

 

“As we work to progress the commissioner role, we know that children and their families need this engagement now, and this Interim Advocate role is critical to delivering that.”

 

To access the National Indigenous Times coverage of this story, please see here

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