We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

Our child-centred focus

In all our work we strive to be child-centred. This helps us to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child.
Children up to the age of 18 make up a quarter of our population, and yet th...

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Child Poverty

The previous Children's Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills, made reducing child poverty a top priority for his term. We believe everyone from Government, to business, to our local communities has a role t...

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State of Care

The State of Care report is an annual summary from our independent monitoring of Child, Youth and Family’s policies, practices and services. It includes feedback from children and young people about t...

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Capturing children's voices

A core part of our work is to engage with children and young people to ensure their voices are heard on issues that affect them.

Read about how we are gathering children's voices here

Rights of children in the care of the State

Our monitoring of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is strongly focused on children’s rights and we report publicly on our findings as a way to help ensure that the rights of this particularly vulnerable group of children are respected and upheld.

All four general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) are of critical importance to children who come into contact with CYF:

  • The right to protection from discrimination (article 2);
  • That the best interests of the child should always be a primary consideration in any decisions affecting them (article 3);
  • The right to life, survival and development (article 6); and
  • The right to have an opinion and for that opinion to be heard in all matters affecting the child (article 12).

In addition, UNCROC guarantees several rights of specific importance to children who come into contact with CYF, for example:

  • that children should not be separated from their parents unless it is in their best interests (article 9),
  • the right to be protected from harm or maltreatment (article 19),
  • the right to special protection and support for children who cannot live with their parents (article 20),
  • the right for children placed away from home to have their treatment reviewed regularly (article 25), and
  • the right to help and support for children who have been abused or maltreated (article 39).

The children and young people who access CYF’s services have often had their rights impacted already. They are among the most vulnerable in the country, and it is critically important that their rights are upheld by the agency that is there to help.

Read a full copy of UNCROC