How to engage young people—and why you should26 July 2022
A new guide to improve how young people get a say in decisions has been launched by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC).
QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford said decisions were made every day that affected children’s and young people’s lives, but their views and perspectives were often left out of the conversation.
“The QFCC has worked with young people to co-design a framework that acts as a guide to bridge the gap that can occur when children’s and young people’s voices are excluded from decision-making discussions or processes,” Mr Twyford said.
“Our Child and Youth Participation Framework is a guide the community can use to find genuine opportunities to connect with children and young people, support them to safely express their views, amplify what they say, and help them to influence change.
“When we give children and young people a say in the issues that affect them, they feel more connected to their communities, are more likely to engage in community life, and are empowered to influence decisions made about them.
“For decision-makers, hearing from and acting on the views of children and young people can allow for better-informed decisions that represent the sentiment of the entire community, not just adults.”
Mr Twyford said children and young people could influence real change when given a platform to express their views.
“QFCC Youth Advocates have recently contributed to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce and the mental health inquiry run by Queensland Parliament’s Mental Health Select Committee,” Mr Twyford said.
“The inclusion of young Queenslanders’ voices in these hugely important initiatives influenced the final recommendations recently handed to government, with the outcomes having potential to deliver real change that meets the needs of young Queenslanders and the broader community, as a whole.”
QFCC Youth Advocate and Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce participant Bri said young people should be given opportunities to engage in decision-making in meaningful ways, regardless of how confronting a topic may be.
“Young people have unique lived experiences that can enrich conversations about a broad range of subjects, including sensitive ones,” Bri said.
“I was grateful to have the opportunity to join other young women in bringing our diverse perspectives as youth to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce discussions.
“In listening to our views, the taskforce was able to develop recommendations that will aim to meet the policy, education and reporting needs of children and young people and deliver better outcomes for all families in Queensland.”
QFCC Youth Advocate Grace appeared before the Mental Health Select Committee this year to provide youth perspectives about mental health services and support in Queensland.
“I was one of a number of young people invited to Queensland Parliament earlier this year to share my insights and experiences of Queensland’s mental health system,” Grace said.
“Many of the inquiry’s 57 recommendations reflected the suggestions and advice I and my fellow advocates provided to the committee, which, when implemented, will have immense impact on the health and wellbeing of all young Queenslanders.
“It’s so important that young people are listened to, engaged in decision-making in a meaningful way, empowered to speak up, and taken seriously when they express their opinions.”
The QFCC Child and Youth Participation Framework is available to view at www.qfcc.qld.gov.au
For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164