Blog - Understanding the Rights of Our Children

In 2014 the Children’s Rights Report was released by the National Children’ Commissioner. It reviewed how Australia as a nation responds to and meets the needs of young people and children. This report uses the United Nations convention on the rights of the child as a guideline to assess how the Australian Government is ensuring the basic human rights of all children.

The report looked at how young people in Australia were experiencing life and concluded that not all children were having positive experiences throughout their childhood. In her report, The National Children’s commissioner outlines five main ideas. These ideas are a result of work undertaken throughout 2013-2014 in an effort to promote discussion and awareness of matters relating to the human rights of young people and children in Australia (Mitchell, 2014). While these ideas are recommendations made to the Australian government on a national level, at a local level these five ideas can also be used within an OSHC setting to ensure that each child attending a YMCA OSHC service is aware of the rights they have as a child in our world. The five ideas from the 2014 Children’s Rights Report are listed below.

  1. The right to be heard!
    We need to make sure that adults listen to children and young people and take their views seriously.
  2. Freedom from violence, abuse and neglect
    We need to make sure that all children and young people are safe.
  3. The opportunity to thrive
    All children and young people need to grow up strong, healthy and happy. We need to help children and young people who are having a really hard time right from the start, not waiting until the problems get really bad.
  4. Engaged citizenship
    We should help children and young people get involved in their schools and communities – to be citizens! They need to know about their rights!
  5. Action and accountability
    We need to know all about how children and young people are doing in Australia. Then we need to make sure that the Australian Government makes laws and rules which help all children and young people.

Outside School Hours Care is the perfect platform to create awareness of the rights of children and promote these five ideas. As educators we should continue encouraging our children to have a voice and develop additional opportunities where individual beliefs and opinions can be freely expressed. For many children, OSHC is already an environment which provides a safe, warm and comforting space where they can grow and develop physically, emotionally and spiritually. We need to continue to take time to educate our children on their rights and encourage them to be active participants in their local OSHC, school, sporting and cultural communities. As educators, parents, mentors and role models we need to be proactive in our own vocation and be leaders in creating a voice for the young people and children of Australia.

Written By Rebecca Leber, YMCA Gumdale OSHC Coordinator.

The Y is independently reviewed by the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) to ensure our services are safe for all children and young people.

The Y acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands we work upon and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

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