Media Releases - 11 October 2022

Children and young people have their say

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean celebrated the opening of the CCYP Ambassador Statewide Event 2022 today.

Ms McLean said the day-long event brought more than 60 Tasmanian CCYP Ambassadors aged between 10-17 together with adult decision-makers.

“They shared their views and opinions on issues that are important to the young people, including mental health, the environment, education and children’s participation,” Ms McLean said.

“The event featured guest speakers, round-table discussions with politicians, consultations, training sessions and creative workshops.”

Ms McLean said the CCYP Ambassador Statewide Event, co-designed by the Ambassadors, is an excellent example of child rights in action.

“Under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children and young people have a right to have a say in decisions that affect their lives and for their views to be listened to and taken into account,” Ms McLean said.

Ms McLean said the Ambassadors selected the topics that they wanted the event to focus on.

“They selected the activities, guest speakers and booths and they provided guidance on the guest list.

“They volunteered for different roles throughout the day, from MC-ing to front-of-house roles. They even designed their own CCYP Ambassador t-shirts, which they wore at the event.”

“Involving children and young people in matters that affect them and listening to their perspectives is the basis for creating child-safe spaces in our communities.

“Just as importantly, their input and ideas can result in better policies, services and systems. This in turn results in better outcomes for children. Adult decision-makers still have a tendency, though, just to tell the young people what’s going to happen rather than asking them for their input first.”

Ms McLean said involving children in co-design could be difficult for adults, who are used to making all the decisions.

“It’s very easy to say: ‘We have to involve children and young people in decisions’.

“But handing over even just a little bit of control can be difficult for adult decision-makers, and our systems – particularly our policy making systems in government – aren’t necessarily set up to enable children to be a part of the process.

“This is something that we must get better at. It takes confidence – not just in the children but in yourself too. It also takes an understanding of child rights – because all children and young people have a right to have a say in matters that affect them.”