The 2018-19 Annual Report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People was today tabled in Parliament.
The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean said the Annual Report reflects a year of change including the transition to a new Commissioner, following Interim Commissioner David Clements.
“During his time as Interim Commissioner, David Clements represented the interests of children and young people in Tasmania including by developing and establishing the new program to independently monitor out-of-home care (OOHC) in Tasmania, and I released the first CCYP OOHC Monitoring Report this week,” Ms McLean said.
“In my first year as Commissioner, I have had both the responsibility and great pleasure of advocating for the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmania.
“This included expanding opportunities for more children and young people to have a say on matters that are important to them, continued advocacy for children and young people detained under the Youth Justice Act 1997 and the continuation of advice and advocacy on the ongoing reform of OOHC and the child safety system in Tasmania.
“A key function of the Commissioner is to ensure children and young people’s opinions and views are sought, heard, and considered in decisions that affect them. This also contributes to children and young people learning skills to help them become engaged and active citizens.”
“There are so many children and young people who want to be heard and actively engaged in decisions that affect them. Since I began the CCYP Ambassador Program, I have appointed nearly 200 CCYP Ambassadors who are now helping guide my work.
Ms McLean said promoting the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children and young people is also an important priority.
“This is why I have also established an Expert Advisory Council on Wellbeing. My work in this area has also been informed by my discussions with CCYP Ambassadors and by what I have heard travelling the State and listening to children, young people, their families and those who provide support and assistance to them.”
“I have also commented on draft legislation and made submissions on a range of issues which have the potential to affect the lives of Tasmania’s children and young people.”
Ms McLean said she provided significant advice to Government in relation to Searches of Children and Young People in Custody in Tasmania after media reports relating to the practice of routine strip-searching of children at the Hobart Reception Prison.
“The Advice sought to outline a framework to better promote and protect the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in custody in custodial settings by ensuring relevant legislation, policies and procedures regarding all personal searches of children and young people in custody are in line with well-established human rights standards and principles and contemporary best practice.
“Seen from this perspective, the practice of routine strip-searching of children and young people cannot be justified.”
My Annual Plan for 2019-20, which is available on my website, sets out how I will continue to represent the wellbeing, views and best interests of children and young people in Tasmania into the future.