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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Learning through COVID-19: Maximising educational outcomes for Australia’s children and young people experiencing disadvantage – Pillar 3 report

Education, Young People, Evidence-Based Program, Children, COVID-19, Report

This report from the University of Queensland builds on two previous reports in a series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on learning to present evidence-based options for action to address disadvantage. Evidence-based interventions and programs were identified across core actions within four priority Action Areas: student mental health, wellbeing and hope; future role of teachers, schools and communities; digital equity; and protections for the most vulnerable students. The researchers assessed 65 programs for implementation readiness in the Australian context. The findings reveal key evidence gaps and the report urges government to take action in 16 areas.

Life, disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19

Education, Young People, COVID-19, Employment, Report

The Monash University Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice has released this report exploring the relationship between education and work and the contextual factors that shape education and work for young people in Australia. The report finds that the disruptions caused by the pandemic have magnified existing social issues, such as job insecurity, erosion of worker rights and shifting career identities, which have led to significant challenges for young people. The report discusses the implications of these social issues for educational providers.

Locked out: Vaccination discrimination for children and young people with disability

Disability, Young People, Report, Children, COVID-19, Case Study, Vaccination, Report, Case Study

This report from the Public Service Research Group at the University of New South Wales and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) used survey data to investigate the COVID-19 vaccination experiences of children and young people with disability. The study found that 62 per cent of respondents were parents or carers who experienced difficulties and barriers in vaccinating their child or children with disability. The report concludes that support to make sure that children with disability can access an appropriate vaccination experience is crucial to prevent high levels of severe disease.

Making Young Minds Matter: Reshaping support services for young people in the new parliament

Mental Health, Young People

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.

OPEN Research/Policy Snapshot: Children and young people on the edge of care, out of home and alone

Families and parenting, Young People, Homelessness, OPEN Resource

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.

Our youth, our way: Inquiry into the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the Victorian youth justice system

Youth Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Young People, Report, Adolescents, Report

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) has released its report examining the lived experience of Aboriginal young people who have had contact with Victoria’s youth justice system and the factors that contribute to their overrepresentation. CCYP found that the continuing legacy of colonisation, the stolen generation and structural and institutional racism play a significant role in the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the youth justice system. The report makes 75 recommendations.

Out of sight: Systemic inquiry into children and young people who are absent or missing from residential care

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

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) has released this systemic inquiry report into children and young people who are absent or missing from residential care in Victoria. The report investigates prevalence, patterns and characteristics of young people, the factors that contribute to their absence, and the harms experienced while absent from care. The report found that deficiencies in the current model of residential care are key factors driving absence from care, with young people feeling unsafe and/or seeking needed connection elsewhere. The report makes 18 recommendations.

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

Mental Health, Young People, Alcohol and Other Drugs

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

Young People, Report

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.

Preliminary Findings and Recommendations for the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot: Summary Re

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

This report examines the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot, that took place from 2018-2020. This Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report was commissioned to highlight and identify the impact of the Pilot’s work and establish direction prior to the end of the funding cycle.