yChange

What is it?

This year (2020) the Commissioner has been undertaking a pilot program of yChange: an eco-system of participation designed to provide a hands-on learning experience for children, young people, educators and civic partners. The Commissioner wants to create a space where children, young people, schools and civic partners work together  to create more inclusive and responsive policies.

The participatory nature of yChange fosters positive relationships built on children and young people being valued for their opinions and contributions. The aim of yChange is to ensure that children and young people feel respected and valued through their participation in the program, increasing their self-worth and connection to peers. yChange also promotes intergenerational relationships where professionals and civic leaders see children and young people’s experiences and opinions as legitimate and crucial in designing responses and support mechanisms, policies and services that will have a positive impact.

We know children and young people have an increased sense of social and emotional wellbeing when they participate in the design of systems and have  input into decisions that affect their lives. Children and young people feel a sense of social inclusion when they are recognised and respected by others as social actors who have rights. It also provides children and young people with a sense of social responsibility to the wider community while elevating their sense of place within it.

Background

The Commissioner for Children and Young People has heard that young people in South Australia want to contribute to the vision, strategy, culture and operations of public institutions, laws and governance. They want to matter, be connected to a purpose and have their individual and collective strengths and contribution recognised. Young people have told us how meaningful participation promotes positive relationships and improves their general wellbeing.

We must engage children and young people, and provide opportunities to build a society based on increased honesty, integrity, transparency and equality. This will strengthen our democratic institutions and structures and protections that underpin the fabric of civil society, and promote economic and social justice.

Find Out More about our YouthChange Project