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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4301 ..

This government has also made sure that there is a mechanism for children and young people to inform the direction of the out of home care sector as a whole. In developing the A step up for our kids out of home care strategy for 2015-20, the Create Foundation, a dedicated engagement service for children and young people, are partnered with the directorate in the delivery of A step up for our kids.

The views and wishes of children and young people in out of home care are regularly sought by Create through formal and informal consultations. Create also assist government to provide forums for young people to express their views on the matters that affect them. They assist children and young people at all stages of their out of home care journey, including the vital task of helping young people transition from care. For example, Create’s go your own way leaving care kit is a resource for young people aged 15 years and above who are starting to plan for their transition to adulthood and independence.

Recently the government committed to a new initiative to capture the voice of children and young people in out of home care. In the course of this current financial year, the Community Services Directorate, in partnership with the Create Foundation, will be hosting two round tables with children and young people who have had contact with the out of home care system.

The first round table will ask young people what their experience has been of care planning. This will allow young people to identify their views and experience of various elements of care planning, including therapeutic plans, contact plans, care plans and transition plans. The topic will be useful from a policy and practice perspective, as there is potential for change in relation to various areas of care planning, and young people can directly influence these areas considerably.

In 2017, a charter of rights was developed for young people in the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. The charter of rights was developed with the ACT Human Rights Commissioner, and provides an easy guide for young people at Bimberi, setting out how young people should expect to be treated, and how they should treat others, while at Bimberi.

The purpose of the charter of rights is to strengthen awareness of young people’s rights and responsibilities and to reinforce their protection within the justice system. The charter of rights includes such rights as the right to receive proper health care; the right to education and programs; and the right for young people to practise their religion and/or express their culture. It also includes additional information explaining each right in the chapter in more detail.

This week we reflect on the important contribution that children and young people make to the Canberra community. We are reminded that they have important and innovative ideas and the right to voice their opinions and be listened to. Children have the right to a child-safe and child-friendly Canberra. As a community, we have a duty to uphold the rights of children and acknowledge them as future leaders of the ACT.

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