The Commissioner


Meet the Commissioner

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner in South Australia is Helen Connolly.

The Commissioner will advocate for the rights, development and well-being of more than 400,000 children and young people in South Australia with a particular interest in children and young people who are considered vulnerable or at risk. The Commissioner promotes the rights, development and well-being of the children and young people of South Australia at a systematic level and ensures that South Australia, as a part of the Commonwealth, satisfies its international obligations in respect of children and young people.


Helen’s biography

Before becoming the Commissioner in April 2017, Helen has extensive experience in executive leadership roles in a range of not-for-profit organisations. Immediately, before taking the role as Commissioner, Helen was the Executive Director of Australian Red Cross in South Australia and Chair of the South Australian Council of Social Service Inc (SACOSS). She is a long-time advocate for building respectful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations and has established networks and relationships through her position as a Co-Chair of Reconciliation SA.

Throughout her career, Ms Connolly has taken an active advocacy role on the main policy issues that impact on the well-being of Australian families and children, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention strategies.


The Commissioner’s duties

The Commissioner has statutory responsibilities that include, but not limited to:

  • Promote and monitor the overall well-being of the children of South Australia
  • Establish and conduct inquiries into matters related to the rights, development and well-being of children and young people at a systemic level.
  • Promote participation by children and young people in the making of decisions that affect their lives.
  • Advise and make recommendations to Ministers, state authorities and other bodies on matters related to the rights, development and wellbeing of children and young people to relevant legislation, policies, practices and services.
  • Encourage the involvement of children and young people in her work, and – in particular – consult with them on the work that she should be doing to improve the rights of children and young people.



The responsibilities of the Commissioner for Children and Young People as outlined in the legislation is to promote the right, best interests and well-being of all children who are 0-18 years in South Australia.

Read the law establishing the Commissioner’s post, the South Australia Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016.