National children’s commissioner role welcome

National children’s commissioner role welcome

UnitingCare Australia has said that the Federal Government’s decision to appoint a National Children’s Commissioner should give a stronger voice to all young people, but particularly to the most vulnerable.

National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds, said the historic move raised the profile of the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in Australia.

“Individual states and territories have struggled to meet the needs of children living with poverty and disadvantage,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

“This national role has the opportunity to drive systemic reform.

“At first glance, it appears the Commissioner will complement the work of the states and territories and other bodies, helping to build relationships and ensure a consistent approach to issues affecting children and young people.

“The Office of the National Children’s Commissioner must also complement the work of existing institutions, including The Australian Human Rights Commission, Public Advocates and Ombudsman schemes, that are responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of all citizens, including children and young people.

“We welcome the Commissioner’s mandate to engage in, develop, and promote public education to increase awareness and understanding of children’s rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child.

“This is not a substitute for Government responsibilities, but a mechanism to help children and young people, the broader community and government and public agencies further understand their rights, entitlements and responsibilities.

“We expect the work of the Commissioner’s office will be fully funded in the Federal Budget and that allowances will be made for increased funding as the role becomes established over time.

“It is vital that the role is independent and can set its own agenda.

“This long overdue appointment is a welcome culmination of a significant period of consultation and decades of advocacy led by the non-government sector.

“UnitingCare Australia will work closely with the Commissioner offering the experience and wisdom of a network that has worked with children and families for over a hundred years,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

UnitingCare services manage 12 per cent of all residential aged care places in Australia with over 12,000 aged care beds and a network of community care places from metropolitan to remote communities.

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