Out and about with the Guardian this week


The Guardian, Shona Reid, and her team have been very busy over the last week, connecting to community and participating in some big events across the nation and especially here in Adelaide. Our offices participation is really important in ensuring the voices of children and young people we advocate for are front and centre in the wider community.

“Children and young people in care are often invisible to the wider community, their experiences are often left behind closed doors. My job as Guardian is to ensure that the community as a whole see, hear and embrace learnings about children and young people in the out of home care sector and youth detention” Shona said.

Read on to hear about the highlights!

L- R: Shona Reid, GCYP, CJ, Youth Consultant and Luke Twyford, Principal Commissioner, QFCC
L-R: Shaylem Wilson, Principal Aboriginal Advocate and Merike Mannik, Principal Advocate

Closing the Gap Day

We were thrilled to be a part of yesterday’s Closing the Gap Day event presented by Sonder and Nunkuwarrin Yunti.

The event, dedicated to closing the gap and fostering inclusivity, provided a great opportunity to connect with children, families and communities to discuss the role of our office. In particular, how we strive for impactful action and dedicate our efforts to ensure improved outcomes for First Nations children and young people who are in care and youth detention.

As an office, we are committed to prioritising reform that will close the gap in support of achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples by 2032.

Unfortunately, as a state we are failing to meet our targets, not only as it relates to overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection and criminal justice systems, but also across other life domains that impact children in care differently. 

To make progress we need to urgently shift our collective mindset, recognise our responsibility to do better and take concerted action towards closing the gap.

CREATE Foundation Voices in Action Conference 2024

This week the Guardian had the opportunity to connect with children and young people at the CREATE Foundation Voices in Action Conference.

The theme ‘Your stories. Stronger together’ was embodied during the young consultant panel session chaired by the Guardian. This session explored the young people’s own narratives and experiences with the care system and how this has interacted with their personal sense of self-determination.

The Guardian is a fierce advocate for amplifying the voices of children and young people in everything we do and promoting self-determination of Aboriginal children and young people. The Guardian took the opportunity to interview Aboriginal children and young people who have a care experience about their cultural connection journey and participated on a panel with other Children’s Commissioners where young people with a care experience asked questions about their roles and oversight mechanisms. Finally, she presented on the state of residential care in SA and “Rights, Rules and Rage in Resi”.

The most important part of the conference was the connection and voices of children and young people who are currently in care and those that reflected on their time in care.

Celebration Weeks

Let’s get involved in Neurodiversity Celebration Week, by celebrating different minds and taking a person-centred approach we are empowering neurodivergent individuals to flourish. Instead of labelling people with deficits or disorders, when we use the term neurodiversity, we take a balanced view of an individual’s unique strengths and challenges. It is important that we recognise and respect neurological differences as no two people are the same.

In the work of this office, there are many children and young people who experience neurodiversity. It is important that we ensure their rights and needs are respected and that they have a say in matters that affect them.

This week we also commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Aboriginal people have endured systemic racial discrimination in this country. We often become so desensitised to the normalisation of social and institutional racism that we do not think to call it out or make a formal complaint over the other priorities of daily life.

We cannot escape the fact that Aboriginal people experience constant exposure to racism, profoundly influencing the education, employment, housing, health and life outcomes. As a result, many Aboriginal people live out their lives overshadowed by ongoing and relentless experiences of trauma. These cycles of trauma are prevalent in the work we do with Aboriginal children and young people in the out of home care sector and youth detention.

In reflecting on the events of the past week, the Guardian, Shona Reid, told us:

“Whilst commemorating these days and weeks is important, what is even more important is that we reflect on the work we do and ensure that it positively impacts children and young people’s lives”. 

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