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Seminar shows how to listen to young people


Brigid Veale
3 November 2008
Most adults know that giving children and young people a say is important, but the steps involved in actually doing it, as well as the challenges involved are the subject of a seminar being held at Southern Cross University's Lismore campus on Thursday, November 6.

In recent years, there has been much research and policy activity pointing to the importance and benefits of providing children and young people with opportunities to ‘have a say’ in the decisions and activities that influence their lives.

Parallel with such developments, however, are growing concerns about whether the progress made in understanding the benefits of young people’s participation has been matched by changes for young people in their everyday lives.

In this seminar, the NSW Children’s Commissioner, Ms Gillian Calvert, together with members of Southern Cross University’s Centre for Children and Young People’s (CCYP) youth advisory group, Young People Big Voice (YPBV), will talk with leaders in education, health, family law and community services about why it is important to include young people in decision making.

They will also discuss the steps involved in making this a reality, and the benefits, challenges and outcomes of pursuing a more participatory approach. This will be an interactive seminar with opportunity for discussion and networking.

The seminar will be facilitated by Sarah Hort, a member of YPBV and Dr Kath Fisher. The presenters are Casey Cleaver and Ben Cooper, from YPBV and Commissioner Calvert.
The panel members are and Yvonne Donohoe, principal, Goonellabah Primary School, Tony Lembke, GP, Northern Rivers General Practice Network, Anthony Smith, family consultant, Federal Magistrates Court, Lismore, Morag MacSween, acting regional director, DOCS and Lizette Twisleton, Young Women’s Project Worker, Women’s Health.

Jennifer Parke, the YPBV facilitator, who has been working closely with the YPBV this year, said the young people were excited at being able to take on a key role both in the planning process and during the seminar itself.

“They are a fantastic bunch of young people who are serious about influencing social policy that concerns them” she said.

“You know that the committee has been a worthwhile experience for them when they are so passionate about seeing it continue.”

The seminar will run from 4pm to 6pm on Thursday, 6 November 2008 in the Zest Function Room, Campus Central, Southern Cross University and is open to the public. There is no cost to attend. RSVP to [email protected] or phone 6620 3605.