Sunday, February 07, 2010

NSW Children's Commisioner

It is good to see an article this month in Sydney's Child by the NSW Children's Commissioner, Gillian Calvert. I bet most people don't know that this position exists. She has held this position for ten years - makes me wonder how well she is doing the job?

She says parents are stressed and anxious about their parenting, and that parents are doing it on their own - they need more support. That children need healthy relationships, and relationship require time. That the amount of information directed to parents is confusing. that modern life is faster, more complex, too competitive, too material and consumer oriented.

She says we need:
- paid parental leave
- family friendly work places
- mothers in the workplace
- affordable and accessible child-care
- improve after school care
- improve qualifications of child-care staff and improve staff-child ratios
- services to support vulnerable lower socio-economic parents
- improve conditions for Indigenous children
- support schools and value teachers
- less homework and scheduled activities and more time to play
- provide community spaces where kids can play and interact
- ensure we leave a healthy planet for our children to live on

All these things she says we need for children are the same things we say we need for mothers. And what we need to improve the wellbeing of men. How long is it going to take? We've been talking about all these issues for a long time.

The proposal she makes which is new to me is that we appoint an Australian Children's Commissioner, to be a voice for children's rights. Considering we hear little from the NSW one, I wonder if having an Australian one would be better.

What do you think?

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