Helen Connolly is the inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People for South Australia.
Helen has held many senior service delivery, advocacy and governance roles in South Australia and nationally over many years. A significant part of this work has included work with and for children.
Helen approaches her work from community participation, citizenship and rights based frameworks.
The children and young people of South Australia asked for a Commissioner who likes, respects, values, understand, listens to and advocates for children and young people.
Helen aspires to prove to the children and young people of South Australia that she demonstrates this in all of her work and in doing so supports individuals and communities and systems to place the needs, interests and well-being of children and young people front and centre.
The work of the Commissioner for Children and Young People is guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the core international treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children are entitled to.
The South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People is a new independent position, established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016. This legislation was introduced to the South Australian Parliament in response to recommendation 245 of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. The purpose of the legislation was to create a statutory officer with powers and functions to advocate at a systemic level to improve the well-being of children and young people in South Australia.
The Commissioner promotes and advocates for the rights, interests and well-being of all children and young people in South Australia. Additionally, the Commissioner ensures that as a part of the Commonwealth, South Australia enacts its international obligations.
The Commissioner will work in partnership with government and community organisations to ensure the Convention is effectively implemented in South Australia. Her focus will be to:
- Raise children and young people’s issues and interests higher on the public agenda
- Enfranchise children’s and young people’s participation in public life and policy development
- Promote and protect the rights of all South Australian children and young people to be respected and valued
- Expand opportunities for children and young people to have meaningful involvement in their communities.