Help for kids in care

Your rights

You have rights — as a young person, as a person in care, and as an Aboriginal person. Many of these rights are backed up by law, which means the people responsible for your care must respect them.

These are a few of the rules in place to keep you safe and well:

Charter of Rights for children and young people in out-of-home care

This is part of the law that protects children in NSW (it’s called the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998).

It says you have the right to:

  • Have contact with your family and community
  • Be told why you are in care and access your file
  • Complain about your care if you’re not satisfied
  • Do things that you enjoy and make choices for your future
  • …and more.

You can find out a lot more about the Charter of Rights here.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

This is an international list of children’s rights, agreed upon by most countries in the world (including Australia).

It says you have the right to:

  • Know your parents, and as far as possible, be cared for by them (unless your parents are mistreating or neglecting you)
  • Say what you think when adults are making decisions about your life
  • Think and believe what you want
  • Be looked after properly by people who respect your culture and religion
  • Learn the language and customs of your family
  • …and more.

You can find a simple version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child here.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Like the Convention on the Rights of the Child (up above), this is an international list of rights that most countries have agreed to respect. They are rights for the First Peoples of these countries, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

As an Aboriginal person, you have the right to:

  • Keep your cultural identity and be proud that you’re Aboriginal
  • Be free from discrimination — this means people shouldn’t treat you differently because you’re Aboriginal
  • Belong to your Aboriginal community or nation
  • Have a special, spiritual connection to your land, waters and Country
  • …and more.

These rights can be a bit complicated, because they’re not all protected in our Australian laws. So while our country has said it respects these rights, at the end of the day, sadly it doesn’t always ‘walk the talk’.

You can find out more about the Declaration in this booklet.

Deadly websites and info

AbSec Youth Ambassador Program

We value the voices of our Youth Ambassadors as we believe in this initiative that aims to provide a platform for Aboriginal young people to engage with the child protection and out-of-home care sector in NSW. Given the ongoing over-representation of Aboriginal children within these systems and its profound effects on many of their lives, AbSec is working to ensure the voices of Aboriginal young people are heard right across the sector, influencing services and supports to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal young people.

The purpose of the AbSec YAP is to:

  • Motivate and inspire the non-government sector and wider community
  • Pursue priorities areas as identified by the Ambassadors
  • Influence Government and decision-makers
  • Speak publicly, with support from AbSec, on experiences and issues impacting Aboriginal young people across NSW.

AbSec values the diverse perspectives of Aboriginal young people from different geographic locations, communities and with different life experiences. The AbSec YAP is open to any Aboriginal young person in NSW who is passionate about the Aboriginal child welfare system.

If you’re interested in knowing more about our Youth Ambassador program contact us.

CREATE Foundation

CREATE is the national organisation for kids in care, just like you. They have heaps of useful stuff:

  • clubCREATE — it’s free to join, and you’ll get magazines, invitations to events, and more
  • CREATE Your Future — a website for young people leaving care
  • Sortli — a free mobile app for young people leaving care (look for it in the App Store or Google Play)

Where to go for help

You can call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 anytime, for any reason. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s also a great website.

If you feel unsafe or unhappy with how your carer is treating you, you can:

  • Call the police on 000 only if it is an emergency and you feel you are in danger
  • Talk to the agency or organisation that is managing your care
  • Make an official complaint to the NSW Ombudsman – if you’re in Sydney call (02) 9286 1000, or outside of Sydney call 1800 451 524. Or send an email.
  • Call us at AbSec on (02) 9559 5299 or send us an email.