The CYPC believes it is important for children and young people to be able to have their say on issues that affect them.
Recognising the important protective factor that comes from children and young people being able to participate in decisions affecting them and being taken seriously, we are increasingly focussed on developing and improving ways by which to seek input from children and young people about the work that we do, and to provide avenues for them to have their say about issues that are important to them.
Doing so has significant benefits for the development of good public policy, the design of successful interventions, and the delivery of effective services.
Equally, the more we encourage children and young people to be vocal about issues that matter, the more likely it is that children and young people will feel that they will be listened to if they raise concerns about things that they personally experience.
Giving children and young people a voice is the first step to empowering them, and to giving them the strength to speak out about both important societal issues and personal issues for which they may be needing support.
Ultimately, engaging with children and young people about issues that affect their lives delivers better outcomes for everyone in community. This view is supported by a number of ACT Government policy commitments.
The ACT Children and Young People’s Commitment 2015-2025 outlines the Government’s commitment to all children and young people (0-25 years) across the ACT having “the opportunity to reach their potential, make a contribution, participate in decision-making and share the benefits of our community.” The Principles include “Children and young people have a right to have a say in decisions that affect them and to have their opinions valued and taken into account”. This is supported as one of the six priority areas in the Commitment.
The ACT Government’s guide to community engagement, Engaging Canberrans, notes that ‘consulting with children and young people will help you to: make more effective law and policy; deliver more effective programs; save money and time; and act in the best interests of children and young people’.
The involvement of children and young people in decision making is also supported by International law. Specifically, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that children and young people should be consulted on issues which affect them, and that their views should be seriously considered.
More importantly, however, the CYPC consults with children and young people because of the strong belief that children and young people know the most about what is important to them, and that it is children and young people who frequently have the best ideas, the newest ideas, about how to change things and make things better for children and young people.
Our CYPC Info Sheet contains information about the importance of consulting with children and young people.