The Commissioner for Children and Young People is an independent and impartial statutory officer. The role is established by the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016 (Tas).
The functions of the Commissioner are to:
- advocate for all Tasmanian children and young people
- act as an advocate for youth detainees under the Youth Justice Act 1997
- research, investigate and influence policy development in areas relating to children and young people
- promote, monitor, and review the wellbeing of children and young people
- promote and empower children and young people to participate in the making of decisions, and to express opinions about matters, that affect their lives
- help ensure Tasmania meets its national and international obligations in respect of children and young people
- encourage organisations to establish child friendly mechanisms to assist children and young people to participate in matters that affect them.
The Commissioner advocates for all Tasmanian children and young people. The Commissioner also promotes good practice, policy, and legislation. The Commissioner influences decision–making, undertakes research, monitors, publishes reports, provides advice to ministers and government agencies, undertakes investigations, and makes submissions to inquiries and reviews. The Commissioner also makes comments on draft legislation and on proposed policies, including on national issues that are relevant to children and young people in Tasmania.
The Commissioner regularly speaks with, and hears from, members of the Tasmanian community, including children and young people, about a range of issues concerning young Tasmanians. The Commissioner uses this information to inform systemic advocacy work on behalf of children and young people.
The Commissioner’s role is systemic in nature. This means the Commissioner can’t investigate or review specific decisions about individual cases or specific circumstances unless formally requested to do so by the Minister for Education, Children and Youth.
The Commissioner doesn’t investigate complaints and doesn’t advocate for individuals except in the case of young people detained under the Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas).
Although the Commissioner does not look into specific decisions or specific circumstances, the Commissioner can provide information about programs and services to children and families and can refer people to others who may be able to assist.