boy dressed as doctor

The new WCYHP Plan: Health services based on kindness, inclusion, diversity and trust say SA children and young people 

On Friday 9 October, 2020 Commissioner Helen Connolly spoke to a group of SA Health professionals who gathered for what was the first in a series of consultations regarding the development of the new (WCYHP) Women’s Child and Youth Health Plan for South Australia.

The workshop-style event was held to begin the conversation around what a ten-year plan grounded in clinical expertise and policy best practice, that is informed by the lived experiences of South Australian women, children and young people might look like.

Commissioner Connolly made a call to South Australia’s health leaders and decisions makers to take a rights approach to development of the plan. When considering child and youth health, she emphasised that a ‘needs approach’ will not necessarily ensure the key articles contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child will be taken into account. She said that ‘any plan which aims to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people must be framed with these fundamental rights in clear view, placing them front and centre’:

Article 12: Children have the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them. Adults should listen and take children seriously.
Article 13: Children have the right to share freely with others what they learn, think and feel, by talking, drawing, writing, or in any other way.
Article 24: Children have the right to the nest health care possible, and all children should have information about how to stay safe and healthy.
Article 25: Every child in hospital should have their situation checked regularly to see whether everything is okay and whether being in hospital is the best place for them to be.
Article 42: Governments should actively tell children and adults about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child so that everyone knows about children’s rights.

Health Services are in a privileged position of being able to support children and young people to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, and be instrumental in giving effect to children’s rights.

Commissioner Connolly’s advocacy approach is to ensure that children and young people have opportunities to be engaged and consulted with in related to any services designed for them. Through her consultations with children and young people, Commissioner Connolly learnt that ‘being healthy’ is important to children and young people who had a diversity of opinions on what the terminology actually meant. Speaking with 73 children and young people aged between 3 and 22 years the Commissioner asked a series of questions about what a healthy kid feels like, eats, and can do? The answers the children and young people gave were diverse and insightful. 

Children and young people in South Australia have told the Commissioner that what they want is ‘a health system and set of associated services that demonstrate inclusion, diversity, kindness and trust. They also want to be engaged directly, and be treated with mutual respect and understanding by adults. 

You can view Commissioner Connolly’s presentation to the SA Health WCYHP Workshop Group via the link below:

Read more about the Commissioner’s ‘Being Healthy’ project here:

Download the Commissioner’s ‘Being Healthy’ summary here: 
Being Healthy Summary