A Guide to Establishing a Children and Young People’s Advisory Group

Young People

This guide from The Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP) has been designed and developed with young people and the support of many organisations across New South Wales. It is designed to help organisations establish youth councils and meaningfully engage children and young people in their work. The guide highlights why young people’s participation is important, how to engage and manage a group of young advisors, how to address ethical concerns, as well as a checklist and top tips for success.

A Picture of ACT’s Children and Young People 2016

Education, Mental Health, Young People

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.

A waitlist intervention for transgender young people and psychosocial outcomes

Journal article, Young People, Transgender Community, Journal article

This article, published in Pediatrics, investigates the impact of the First Assessment Single-Session Triage clinic, a waitlist intervention and demand management model of care for transgender young people and their families waiting to access specialist gender services. The study found that compared with a control group, transgender young people supported by this model experienced improvements in depression and quality of life.

Accommodating transition: Improving housing outcomes for young people leaving OHC

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Case Study, Report, Case Study

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has released this report outlining the results of a study into the service delivery pathways for young people transitioning from out-of-home care and the available opportunities to improve transition planning and housing outcomes. The study analysed linked administrative for all Victorian care leavers in 2013 and 2014 and found that smooth transitions are the exception, with most transitions resulting in housing instability, homelessness and other adverse outcomes. The report includes a range of policy development options.

ADM in child and family services: Mapping what is happening and what we know

Young People, Children, Community Services, Family Services

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society has released this report drawing on insights from a workshop series with international experts about automated decision making in child and family services. The report provides an overview of work happening in this space to provide a foundation for future research in this emerging field.

Adolescent service change and the edge of care

Young People

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.

Adverse childhood experiences and trauma among young people in the youth justice system

Youth Justice, Young People, Children, Child maltreatment

This report from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) examines the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among young people in the youth justice system based on a South Australian sample. The study had many prevalent findings and provided suggestions on supporting these young people.

Amplify report: Turning up the volume on young people and family violence

Family Violence, Young People, Report, Policy, Report

Melbourne City Mission has released this report examining the policy and service gaps for young people experiencing family violence in Victoria. A key finding of the study is that young people’s ways of managing their safety are often misunderstood and seen as problematic instead of being recognised as protective. The report makes 20 recommendations.

ANROWS Research Summary: The impacts of domestic and family violence on children

Early years, Family Violence, Young People, Report

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.

Avoiding simple solutions to complex problems: Independent Assessments are not the way to a fairer NDIS

Safety and wellbeing, Young People, Children

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) has released this report seeking to understand the experiences of children and young people with disability and their families accessing the NDIS and their thoughts on proposed reforms relating to Independent Assessments. CYDA conducted a survey with 12 per cent of the 270 responses being from children and young people. The study found that less than half (45 per cent) of respondents were satisfied with the services and support received under the NDIS and overall, 80 per cent of respondents had a negative view of the proposed reforms.

Behind the Screen: Online child exploitation in Australia

Safety and wellbeing, Young People, Technology

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.

Checking in with children and young people on the impacts of COVID-19: Lockdowns 5 & 6

Young People, Report, Children, COVID-19, Report

This snapshot report from the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) investigates children’s and young people’s experiences during Victoria’s fifth and sixth lockdowns in the second half of 2021. Themes include struggles with poor mental health, concerns about the future and educational impacts.

Child poverty and children entering care in England, 2015–20: A longitudinal ecological study at the local area level

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Poverty, Young People, Children, Care Leavers

This article, published by Lancet Public Health, reports the outcomes of a longitudinal study that used linked data to investigate the extent to which trends in child poverty relate to trends in out-of-home care entry in England. The study found many trends, which are detailed in the report.

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.

Children and the Data Cycle: Rights and Ethics in a Big Data World

Young People, Technology

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.

Children’s participation in child protection—How do practitioners understand children’s participation in practice?

Young People, Client Engagement, Children, Child Protection

This article, published in Child & Family Social Work, explores how child protection practitioners in Australia understand children’s participation. The study found differing understandings among practitioners and suggested a number of systemic changes that are needed to support consistent and meaningful participation.

Co-constructing Who Am I? Ensuring the voice of the child or young person is at the heart of ‘the record’

Early years, Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Client Engagement, Evidence Informed Practice, Children, Report

This discussion paper talks about the value of developing a coherent, manageable and principled practice framework for co-constructing the child’s personal life story archive. It also includes considerations around trauma, record-keeping, confidentiality,and information technology. Systems and collaborations are essential to translate this into practice.

Connections Activity – Hope-filled Engagement Tool

Young People, Client Engagement, Tool/toolkit

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.

Consultations with young people to inform the eSafety Commissioner’s Engagement Strategy for Young People: A report on the findings

Education, Young People, Report, Children, Online Safety, Report

Western Sydney University has released this report outlining young people’s insights and recommendations about online safety to inform the eSafety Commissioner’s messaging, resources and ongoing engagement with children and young people. The report was developed using youth-centred, participatory co-research and codesign methods. Key concerns raised by young people in the research included privacy issues, security issues and managing online interactions with others.

Core components of public health approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect

Safety and wellbeing, Young People, Child maltreatment, Abuse, Intervention programs, Child Abuse

This chapter is part of a larger work on child maltreatment and takes a prevention-focused approach to child abuse and neglect by drawing on lessons from the public health sector. The authors argue that a public health approach can help refocus attention on the structural forces affecting families and improving safety and wellbeing outcomes for children.

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.

Creating Learning Environments for Youth – Introduction

Evaluation, Young People, Video

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.

Data snapshot – Child witnesses of family violence: An examination of Victoria Police family violence data

Family Violence, Young People, Children

This report from the Crime Statistics Agency examines the prevalence and outcomes of witnessing family violence for children aged 0-17 in Victoria. It found that over a five-year-period in Victoria, 109,356 family violence incidents occurred with at least one child witness present. Of those child witnesses, over two-thirds were aged 9 years or younger. In 2018-19, over a third of incidents took place in the lowest ranking socio-economic areas in Victoria.

Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Literature Review

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.

Engaging Young people in Evaluation

Evaluation, Young People, Video

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.

Enhancing the coordination of housing supports for individuals leaving institutional settings

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Homelessness, Housing, Policy

This report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) examines transitions from institutional settings, including out-of-home care, with the purpose of proposing policy directions to enhance housing supports. Findings are detailed in the report.

Evaluation of the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report

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.

Exploring the decline in wellbeing for Australian girls

Mental Health, Young People, Gender, Report

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Western Australia has released this report reviewing the current evidence on girls’ wellbeing to understand the reasons for the wellbeing gap between male and female young people. It was found that gender stereotypes, driven in part by increasing social media usage, affect self-esteem, low engagement in physical activity, reduced feelings of safety and independence, and decreased sense of belonging for girls. The report calls for urgent action to improve girls’ wellbeing outcomes.

Exploring the onset, duration and temporal ordering of adverse childhood experiences in young people adjudicated for sexual offences: A longitudinal qualitative study

Young People, Report, Report

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released this report examining the timing, placement and temporal ordering of adverse early developmental experiences in young people aged 10-17 years adjudicated for sexual offences. The case files of 400 young people adjudicated between 2004 and 2018 were reviewed and the 20 files with the highest prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were selected for analysis. The study found that ACEs tended to co-occur, commence early in life and persist for many years for these young people, providing insights into opportunities for early interventions.

Favourite Things Activity – Hope-filled Engagement Tool

Young People, Client Engagement, Tool/toolkit

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.

Five Year Mental Health Youth Report

Mental Health, Young People

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

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Safety and wellbeing, Young People, Handbook

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

Young People, low income

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.

Gray Poehnell – ‘A Better Story’ Presentation

Young People, Conference presentation

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.

Gray Poehnell – ‘Connections’ presentation

Young People, Conference presentation

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.

Gray Poehnell – ‘Mattering’ Presentation

Young People, Conference presentation

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

Disability, Young People, Handbook

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

Evaluation, Young People, Video

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.

Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Data, Report

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released this report presenting data on the prevalence of income support receipt among young people transitioning from care. The study found that time in out-of-home care is associated with higher levels of income support receipt, with care leavers in young adulthood three times as likely as their peers who have not been in care to receive income support.

Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Data, Report

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released this report presenting data on the prevalence of income support receipt among young people transitioning from care. The study found that time in out-of-home care is associated with higher levels of income support receipt, with care leavers in young adulthood three times as likely as their peers who have not been in care to receive income support.

Investigating the mental health of children exposed to domestic and family violence through the use of linked police and health records

Family Violence, Mental Health, Young People, Adolescents, Support Services

In this report Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) presents findings from a unique set of data collected over a 30-year period in Western Australia. Researchers looked at instances of engagement with mental health agencies for children under the age of 18 who had been exposed to family violence. Key findings are detailed in the report.

It’s not our difference that is the disability: Impact of COVID-19 in Australia on children and young people with disability, and their families

Disability, Families and parenting, Young People, Report, Children, Literature Review, Report, Literature Review

ARACY has released this report outlining the results of a literature review on the impacts of COVID-19 on children with disability and their families in Australia, and findings from two policy roundtables. The review found that the pandemic exacerbated many of the problems already faced by families with disability, with children younger than school-age being the most negatively affected.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released this report synthesising the views of children, young people and families who were consulted to inform the first five-year action plans of Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. Participants identified housing, mental health and help with basic needs as the most important supports to help children, young people and families to be safe. The report contains 55 recommended actions.

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.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has released its audit report on the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) kinship care model. The audit examined whether DFFH is supporting timely, stable and quality kinship placements through the model. Results and 12 recommendations that were found are detailed in the report.