It is time for us to strengthen the ways we recognise and include the perspectives of children and young people in the work we do. We are collectively responsible for advancing the rights of children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This includes having respect for the views and perspectives of children and young people in matters and decisions which affect them.
There are 1,149,645 people aged between 0 and 18 years living in Queensland, nearly a quarter of the state’s population. More than 800,000 young people are enrolled in school and 400,000 young people are employed. Our children and young people have many and varied life experiences that communities, businesses, non-Government and government organisations can learn from to strengthen our future state.
The QFCC’s Growing Up in Queensland project and final report, This Place I Call Home, is a testament to the insightful perspectives children and young people have about their communities, the matters that are important to them, and their future goals. Their reflections and insights on important topics provide forward thinking to build stronger communities, while improving the experiences of Queensland children and young people now and into the future.
The findings from the report directly attribute to the lives of children and young people, such as their education, their community and their health. One issue raised by children and young people through the project was the importance of school and its impacts on their future hopes and dreams. By working with children and young people to meet their needs and expectations in education, we can work to ensure that they are supported to be successful in their aspirations.
So, I challenge you to start thinking about how you can create meaningful opportunities for children and young people to influence decision making and promote their unique perspectives as equal to those of adults.