CCYP Issues Briefs

There are a number of issues impacting children and young people in South Australia which the Commissioner is committed to raising awareness of amongst policy and decision makers and service providers. Below you will find issues briefs relating to these, including what the Commissioner believes needs to be done to achieve change at the systemic level.

Health, Wellbeing & Physical Activity

Australian children are among the least active in the world. A recent study found that only 18% of Australian children aged 5–17 years are getting the 60 minutes of daily physical activity they need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Throughout 2021 and 2022 the Commissioner for Children and Young People engaged children and young people on their views on physical activity and what they think being physically healthy involves. There was significant consciousness around health issues relating to young people, including the ‘obesity epidemic’ and ‘emerging mental health crisis’. These issues have been amplified and heard loud and clear by young people. As such they were acutely aware of the need for greater physical activity. However, as they clearly articulated, the barriers to improved physical activity are real. This brief shares the perspectives of children and young people on physical wellbeing and recommendations to engage in healthy practices.

Barriers to Civic Participation

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says children and young people have a right to have a say on all issues that affect them and for their views to be taken seriously. To ascertain the extent to which current state government policy processes directly involve South Australian young people, we undertook a desk top review of all publicly available documentation produced by State government departments and agencies. This involved review of 170 discrete State government plans, frameworks, strategies, and policy agendas identifying just three agencies that had directly referred to young people as stakeholders in their public facing information. This strongly suggests that young people are not systemically considered as a source of relevant input or feedback in strategic engagement or policy making. This brief provides further exploration of the lack of engagement with young people in decision making.

Living with Chronic Illness

It is estimated that between 16 and 20 percent of children and young people in South Australia will suffer with a chronic illness at some point in their childhood. Currently there is no way of assessing or addressing the severity of this impact. Without knowing the true extent of the problem, policy makers and support services are faced with considerable barriers to the planning and delivery of effective healthcare that will support children and young people living with chronic illness. The lack of high-quality research and the structural barriers that currently exist means chronic illness is impacting on children and young people’s lives in significant ways, including an inability to engage fully with their education.  The Commissioner undertook a survey of children and young people living with chronic illness in South Australia. Conducted online from January to June 2022, survey responses were received from 95 South Australian young people who suffer from a broad range of chronic illnesses, often concurrently. This issues brief provides a snapshot summary of the survey results.