This is the sixth annual report outlining how children and young people in the ACT are tracking against key indicators such as physical health and wellbeing and development in the early years. Notably, the number of children enrolled in a preschool program has increased by more than 35 per cent over three years, and the rate of young people charged with a criminal offence has almost halved since 2011.
From journal articles to Quick Guides and webinars, you will find tools and information to support your work.
Adolescent service change and the edge of care
The Rees Centre has published a report that looks at nine projects funded through the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (UK), which directly targeted adolescents at the ‘edge of care’. The analysis makes suggestions for services that aim to reduce the number of young people entering care, and improve outcomes for those living in care. Common components of a successful program included multi-professional staff development, a focus on building positive relationships with families, and strong leadership and management on the ground.
Age of consent laws are important measures for protecting children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation. This Child Family Community Australia resource sheet provides practitioners and researchers with information on age of consent legislation in Australia’s states and territories.
ANROWS Research Summary: The impacts of domestic and family violence on children
This summary is designed for practitioners and policy-makers who want to know more about ANROWS research on the impacts of domestic and family violence (DFV) on children. It outlines the major issues found in ANROWS research relevant to children, the factors preventing effective service delivery and the policy and practice changes recommended by the researchers. It concludes with future research directions.
Behind the Screen: Online child exploitation in Australia
Anti-slavery Australia has released a report bringing together national data and case studies to provide a snapshot of online child exploitation in Australia. The report shows that new technologies and ease of access to the internet have resulted in the proliferation of child exploitation materials available online. The study emphasises the need for common language and streamlined national and international frameworks and cooperation to combat this challenge.
The NSW Legislative Council has released a report on childhood overweight and obesity. It details the structural factors that help determine a child’s weight, and provides compelling recommendations related to urban planning, cost and accessibility of organised sport and food labelling.
With the continually increasing collection of ‘big data’ across the globe, the protection of children’s’ rights is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. In this report, UNICEF calls for a greater appreciation of the links between children’s rights, ethics and data collection. Though the collection of big data presents many opportunities, the international community must address any concerns about how to protect and respect fundamental rights, particularly those of vulnerable children.
In this activity young people are encouraged to fill in the page with words or pictures identifying different points of connection at various levels. This will open up conversations about a young person’s place in the world and encourage them to see themselves as one part of a connected network of support. If a young person doesn’t have strong connections in “Family”, they may be led to see that they do have connections elsewhere – perhaps via a connection to nature, culture, or a particular worker or friend.
WEstjustice has launched their 'Couch Surfing Limbo' report which explores the challenges faced by young couch surfers. Common challenges experienced by this group include exploitation, abuse, and the complexities of navigating a predominantly adult homelessness service system. The report also provides insight into the issues faced by couch providers – the informal carers that look after young couch surfers in their homes.
CREATE has produced a Position Paper on Transitioning from Care, calling for governments to listen to young people about their care experiences and their suggestions for improvement. It presents data from a range of sources that illustrate the experiences of young people transitioning from care, their life outcomes and the effectiveness of targeted services for these young people, such as the Go your Own Way project.
Watch Dr. Kim Sabo Flores, a youth participatory evaluation expert based in the US, talking about the need to create environments which ignite learning and development in young people.
Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making
This brief from the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care discusses what is needed to create genuine participation for young people in residential care. It discusses why youth participation is important and beneficial for designing services, programs and policies in this setting. It also covers a number of different models for participation, and implications for practitioners and organisations in using these approaches.
Watch Dr. Kim Sabo Flores talking about her work, where she emphasises that best youth programs do not just build on youth’s strengths or assets. Instead they supply them with opportunities to explore entirely new ways of being in the world, to create new roles, new attitudes, and new actions. In this video, she also talks about creative activities to involve young people in evaluation.
Evaluation of the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot
This evaluation report from the Brotherhood of St Laurence, examines The Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot (BFTP). This pilot was funded for two years from July 2018 to June 2020, and aimed to improve outcomes for young people with an experience of out-of-home care. The pilot responded to a need, identified through earlier work of the Area Partnership, for changing how the leaving care system worked with young people.
Favourite Things Activity – Hope-filled Engagement Tool
An alternative to starting with the question, “What subjects are you good at in school”, recognising that for many disconnected young people this can trigger feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Instead, the activity encourages young people to simply reflect on things they like, not necessarily things they are good at or activities with a strong careers focus or pathway. This helps the young person with the practitioner to open up stories and reflection about favourite things, activities, people, and draw out useful stories and experiences that demonstrate skill, character, connection and competency.
Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute have collaborated to produce a report on youth mental health. The report presents findings from youth survey data collected between 2012- 2016, and comments on the psychological stress experienced by young people and their help-seeking behaviour. One significant finding included in the report was that one in four young people (aged 15-19) who responded to the survey met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness (PSMI)and that PSMI has increased among young people over the past 5 years, particularly among females. The risk of mental health issues is greater in Indigenous groups than non-Indigenous groups. This report shows that more targeted investment is needed to address the concerning levels of mental health issues amongst young Australians.
Friendships for all: A ‘how to’ guide to help children in care have more opportunities to make friends
Children in care often find it difficult to make and keep friends due to multiple home and family disruptions. This how-to guide by The Children's Society guides practitioners on how they can help children in care to build and maintain friendships - which can improve their wellbeing and reduce their isolation.
Generation stalled: Young, underemployed and living precariously in Australia
The Brotherhood of St Laurence has published an analysis of youth employment trends in Australia, which uncovers some concerning statistics. Youth underemployment is now the highest it has been since 1978 when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) first started collecting the data, reaching 18 per cent in early 2017. The report shows that 650,000 young people in total were unemployed or underemployed in February 2017.
This presentation - part of a workshop delivered by Gray Poehnell - shows how we can help disadvantaged young people to craft a better life story through hope-filled engagement. This is an important method for engaging hard to reach young people, and can help them to think about their career options as a part of their broader life story.
This presentation - part of a workshop delivered by Gray Poehnell - shows how we can help disadvantaged young people to think about who they are, and who they feel connected to. This strengths-based approach is part of helping a young person form a hope-filled story about themselves, which allows them to think about what they might want to pursue as a career.
This presentation, part of a workshop delivered by Gray Poehnell, shows how we can help disadvantaged young people to build resilience through helping them feel visible and recognised - ensuring that they feel they 'matter'.
Guidelines for Consulting with Children & Young People with Disabilities
It is vital to recognise children and young people with disabilities as experts on their own situation, and as capable of contributing to the decision-making processes that affect their lives. This paper offers practical guidance to professionals who work with children with disabilities, including tips for working with children with specific impairments, and case study examples of effective consultation.
Hello Insight – Using real-time data analytics to work with Young People
This video provides an overview of the online platform Hello Insight, which helps youth development programs evaluate and respond to what young people need through online surveys and real time data analysis. The overview is provided by the founder of the platform, Dr Kim Sabo Flores, who has a long history conducting and championing youth participatory evaluation practice.
Save the Children has written a short article on how to have open and honest discussions with children about what it means to be a refugee or an asylum seeker. It provides facts and figures, video clips and other resources that can be used to start the conversation about refugee and asylum seeker journeys.
This Kids Helpline Australia report outlines the issues affecting children and young people in Australia. In 2016, counsellors responded to over 3,400 contacts each week from children and young people seeking information, support or counselling. The impact of technology continues to create innovation but also concerns about safety. There has been a 151% growth in young people using WebChat over five years.
Making Young Minds Matter: Reshaping support services for young people in the new parliament
ResPublica has published a report about improving mental health services for children and young people in the UK. The report proposes three pillars to underpin the design and delivery of support services offered to vulnerable children and young people: early intervention and prevention; collaboration between all relevant stakeholders; and the active participation of young people in shaping the support that they need. These principles may be used to inform the work of government and community organisations, to secure better outcomes for children in care, experiencing mental health issues or facing any other barriers to their wellbeing and success.
Mental health resources: an A-Z index for professionals
This collection from raisingchildren.net.au brings together articles, videos and guides related to mental health support for children and families. Organised from A to Z and by topic area, this is a great starting point for professionals working with families where either a parent of a child needs support.
OPEN Research/Policy Snapshot: Children and young people on the edge of care, out of home and alone
This resource highlights the key findings, recommendations and takeaways from this July 2020 report by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. The report explores the inadequacies of existing service provisions for children and young people aged 10-16 years who do not qualify for statutory removal but who cannot remain at home due to family conflict.
The Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) is the first large-scale prospective longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. Information on safety, permanency and wellbeing will be collected from various sources. The child developmental domains of interest are physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing and cognitive/learning ability. This interactive webpage provides an overview of several elements of the study, including videos, methods and updates.
Peer victimisation, depressive symptoms, and substance use: A longitudinal analysis
A new study led by the University of Delaware found that children who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to suffer from depression in seventh grade, and have a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana or tobacco in tenth grade. The study shows the long term impact of peer victimisation experiences in early adolescence, which affects mental health and substance use in later life.
Power of Image: A report into the influence of images and videos in young people’s digital lives
The UK Safer Internet Centre has undertaken research exploring the role of images and videos in young people’s digital lives and the influence this can have on their self-esteem, behaviour and emotions. The findings show the pervasiveness of video and image sharing among young people, the positive role it can have, and the accompanying risks that this digital culture presents. Eighty per cent of participants reported that they had been inspired by an image to do something positive. However, a significant number of young people have had negative experiences of the digital world. Twenty-two per cent of 8-17 year olds reported that someone has posted an image or video to bully them.
The Mitchell Institute has brought together a group of education practitioners, government leaders and policy experts to consider the challenge of improving young people’s transitions into employment. Young Australians are studying for longer than ever before but are disengaged and struggling to secure long-term employment. The unemployment rate of young people (15-24 year olds) averaged 12.7 per cent in 2016. The authors argue that young people are entering a competitive, global job market that requires a different set of skills from the skills emphasised in Australia’s education system.
Presentation @ OPEN Forum – The Case for quality: The (chaordic) path to youth and family engagement in Ontario
In this OPEN Forum, Mary Ann Notarianni discussed how the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health have developed their thorough 'Quality Standards' for engaging with both young people and with families.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – “Cultivating the Soil”: Co-design and collective impact for system change
Heidi Tucker (Anchor Inc.), Meg Beilken (Brighter Futures) and Dylan Langley (Brighter Futures Youth Ambassador Group) discuss the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot: Learning for Life through Community Connection. The pilot utilised co-design and collective impact to create an enabling environment for innovation and systems change. The presenters discuss the importance of youth participation and collaborative efforts to improve outcomes for young people in out-of-home care.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Continuing care: collaborative youth participation practice with young people and leaving care services
In this presentation, Jade Purtell (Monash University) and Ralph Salera (Salvation Army) discussed their evaluation of the Westcare Continuing Care program. The evaluation focused on the effectiveness of support provided to young people leaving care, and to their foster or residential carers. The evaluation was also supported by youth participation, as The Youth Advocates Group (TYAG) provided feedback on service improvements.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Emerging Leaders Program for young people with disability
Simon Green and Haley Zilberberg (Youth Disability Advocacy Service) discuss their development of their Emerging Young Leaders Program for young people aged 14 to 20 who identified as having disability. With the NDIS changing how people with disability engage with society, accessible and inclusive practice is key to ensuring organisations can deliver safely and effectively. Feedback from participants, and their teachers and parents confirms that this program has created positive opportunities for people with disabilities to develop themselves.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Panel: Participatory practice at the coalface: Working collaboratively with young people
A panel event discussing the key ingredients to successful youth participation practice. Hosted by Sam Champion (Youth Affairs Council of Victoria), and featuring: Siobhán McCann (Commission for Children and Young People), Cathy Carnovale (Create Foundation), Lauren Oliver (Berry Street), Brittany Witnish (Youth Advisor, Master of Social Work and lived experience consultant), Jade Purtell (Researcher and Youth Participation Consultant) & Jenna Bolinger (Researcher)
Promising Practice Guide: Improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Severe and Complex Mental Health Needs
This promising practice guide from Orygen draws on an emerging, yet disparate, evidence-base about promising practices aimed at improving the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. It aims to support service providers, commissioners, and policy-makers to adopt strengths-based, equitable and culturally responsive approaches that better meet the needs of this high-risk population.
Protection through participation: Involving children in child-safe organisations
This practitioner resource considers the nature and benefits of meaningful youth participation in child safety measures. It looks at tools and strategies that can help practitioners to talk to children about their own safety and some of the ways that institutions can respond. The resource highlights the need for organisation-wide commitment to children's participation for this to be successful.
This document developed by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health outlines a number of principles and practices for engaging with young people. These were co-developed with a youth advisory group and seek to ensure a high quality of client engagement and service.
The latest Australian Child Health Poll has found that two-thirds of primary school-aged children and one-third of pre-schoolers now own their own tablet or smartphone. The report describes the links between increasing screen time and childhood issues such as lack of physical activity, disrupted sleep patterns and family conflict. The report highlights the important roles that healthcare providers, schools and policymakers alike, can have in helping children navigate this complex technological age.
New research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has measured the rates of self-harm and suicidal behaviour among Australian teenagers. The Australia-wide study found that 10 per cent of 14-15 year-olds reported that they had self-harmed in the previous 12 months and 5 per cent had attempted suicide. The study examined the factors linked to self-harm and found some teens were more at risk than others, including those who are same-sex attracted or experiencing depression or anxiety.
Speaking Out About Youth Justice: The Views of WA Children and Young People
The Commissioner for Children and Young People in WA has released a report detailing the experiences of young people who have been in contact with the youth justice system. Along with their personal stories, the young people included in the study share what they think would support them in the community to break the cycle of reoffending. The 92 young people involved in the study communicated the belief that offending could be prevented by making appropriate supports and services available. Key supports included positive role models, living in a safe and stable home, participating in education or employment, being involved in community activities and being supported to deal with personal challenges and behavioural issues. For a large number of young offenders, the role models, family supports and other safety nets many of us take for granted are not present.
The Australian government has released a short guide for educators and other practitioners working with young people on how to highlight and dismantle stereotypes and language that is potentially damaging to both genders. The guide points out that phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ can normalise aggression and teach girls to expect to be treated in this way. The guide is part of a wider campaign that aims to change attitudes surrounding domestic violence and gender equality.
The Missing Link? Young People from Migrant and Refugee Backgrounds, Social Capital and the Transition to Employment
The Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) has developed a paper exploring the ways in which young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds experience social capital, particularly in relation to work transitions. The refugee or migrant experience creates a unique context for social capital, as certain challenges, including limited social networks and divergent social norms become apparent. The paper asserts that there must be community and institutional level responses to support young people in building networks and finding employment. It argues that community has an opportunity to build the relational bridges that are central to securing and maintaining employment.
The same four walls: Isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian Youth Justice System
This inquiry undertaken by Victoria’s Commission for Children and Young People considers the use of isolation, separation and lockdown practices in Victorian youth justice facilities. The review highlights issues of understaffing, poor transparency and extensive use of restrictive practices, particularly in the period between February 2015 and July 2016. The report makes a series of recommendations to improve practices, including adequate response to mental health needs, sufficient staffing, and compliance with policy and legislation design to protect children.
This report from the Social Action and Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania, explores young people’s high level of vulnerability as a key social justice issue facing Tasmania. Drawing on the narratives of young people, service providers and government services, this paper brings to the fore the experiences of young people (10-17 years old) who have lived through extreme hardship, unstable home lives and complex trauma. The report includes recommendations for key changes to how the experiences and needs of young people are both represented and responded to.
UNICEF Toolkit: Useful Tools for Engaging Young People in Participatory Evaluation
UNICEF developed this toolkit in 2005 to increase young people's participation in evaluation of projects in Europe and Central Asia. There are a number of evaluation tools/methods with ethical and practical guidelines to engage children and young people. There are also a number of energizers and ice-breakers to facilitate group sessions with children and young people where they can safely voice their opinions. Each tool and activity has a detailed set of instructions to guide the facilitator through the process.
Unpacking the Man Box: What is the impact of the Man Box attitudes on young Australian men’s behaviours and well-being?
This study from Jesuit Social Services quantifies the unique influence of young men’s personal endorsement of the 'Man Box' masculinity pillars on different areas of their lives including mental health, substance use, relationships and violent/bullying behaviour. This is the second stage of this research, and involved surveying a large sample of 1,000 young men aged 18-30. The findings show how endorsement of hyper-masculine norms can effect young men's behaviours and life outcomes, and makes several recommendations for future research and policy in this area.
Webinar: Preparing young people to leave care during COVID-19
This webinar from Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) explored the potential impact of COVID-19 on young care leavers, and strategies to strengthen their social and emotional wellbeing. It reflected on past CFCA presentations and current responses in considering what may help support young care leavers during this pandemic. Recognising the increased risks of social isolation and psychological stress, presenters discussed strategies to strengthen young people’s social capital and improve their social and emotional wellbeing.