World Care Day – Let’s celebrate children and young people in care!

Today is World Care Day, the world’s largest celebration of children and young people in care and with a care experience! 

This day is all about recognising and celebrating with the amazing children and young people in our lives – and, for the adults, our own stories and the lives of the people we live, work and connect with who have grown up in care.  

This year’s theme, Journey of Care, reminds us that every day in the lives of children and young people is part of a journey of growing – the achievements and wins, the scary parts and setbacks, moments of understanding and kindness, and building support networks. Every action and decision is part of the journey that shapes children and young people’s lives, personalities and futures. Which means that every action and decision should be made with the involvement of that child or young person to the greatest extent possible, and with their best interests front and centre.

 Children and young people in care have many of the same growing, transition stages and life events as their peers – learning to communicate and play, going to school and training, building friendships and relationships, leaving home as an adult. But there are also parts of the care journey that are unique, like coming into care, navigating contact with friends, family and loved ones, leaving care as a teenager and developing into an adult with care experience. Each step is important, new and individual for everyone who goes through it, and each step can come with challenges and big feelings.

On World Care Day, we celebrate the children and young people who go through these experiences and feelings, with the understanding that all of us – adults and other children and young people – have an important role in showing kindness, compassion and listening at all stages of the journey. As Shona told us:

“I believe that it is pivotal that children and young people who have a care experience are heard and listened too during their time in care.
In advocating and amplifying the very real perspectives of children and young people we know that getting things right within this sector is so important in ensuring children and young people grow to meet their full potential and dreams.
Thank you to all who play a part in achieving these outcomes. Most importantly for all children and young people in care, we will always do our best at the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People to stand up for your voice and your rights”

Spotlight on rights

All children and young people have rights. The Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care also sets out special rights, which recognise unique care experiences and that sometimes different steps are needed to respect and protect the rights of children and young people in care.

All rights in the Charter are important for young people’s journey, and helping them grow up to feel safe, respected and loved.  There are also some rights that are about helping young people understand the journey they are on, including their story before coming into care and feeling safe and sure of the future. For World Care Day, we’re putting a spotlight on those rights!

The right to have contact with people who matter, including knowing about your family, why you are in care and being able to see and keep regular contact with siblings, family, friends and other important people (if it is safe)

The right to connect with your culture, so that you can know and learn about your cultural heritage and family connections, feel proud and strong about your culture and make connections with your community

The right to be listened to and have a say in decisions that affect you, such as being included in and having a say about plans for your future (in the way that works best for you!)

The right to get the support you need so you’re ready to leave care and feel good about your future – which means:

    • Being at the centre of planning for your move out of care
    • Having a safe place to live when you leave care
    • Being able to learn the skills you need to live as independently as you can (such as driving, budgeting, cooking and using public transport)
    • Being able to go on with study, training or work when you leave care
    • Knowing where you can go if you need help after you leave care
    • Being able to stay in contact with people who were important to you when you were in care
    • Having people in your life who ‘dream big’ with you, stand by you and help you to see what is possible.

If you – or someone you know – thinks these rights are not being respected, there are people who can help. You can:

  • Speak to a trusted carer or worker
  • Speak to the supervisor at your worker’s office
  • Call us at the OGCYP on 1800 275 664 or (08) 8226 8570
  • Lodge a complaint through the Department for Child Protection complaints line on 1800 003 305.

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