Your advocacy and voice
Your voice is important. Learn how you can make your voice heard and hear from other young people who have had care experience.
Care Leavers Charter of Rights
You have rights and are entitled to help and support when you’re in out-of-home care and after you legally ‘leave care’ when you turn 18.
The Care Leavers' Charter of Rights was written by young people who have previously left care to help you understand what your rights are and how you should be treated. You can use the words in the Charter to ask for the support and respect that you are entitled to.
What is YOU CC (Youth Consult for Change)?
YOU CC (Youth Consult for Change) is a group of young people with care experience who give advice and feedback to the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). They help create a better experience for all children and young people in care.
The program runs for two years, and each member of the group is called a Youth Consultant.
Every day DCJ make decisions and develop projects that affect children and young people in care. It is important we ask young people what they think so we hear what works, what doesn’t work and how we could do things better for children and young people!
You can apply to become a Youth Consultant if you are:
- a young person with a care experience
- aged between 15 and 21 years
- would like to use your experiences in care to give advice and feedback to DCJ
- have ideas about how to make the out-of-home care system better for other children and young people
- interested in developing your advocacy and leadership skills.
Youth Consultants provide feedback and advice to DCJ about issues affecting children and young people in care through participating in consultation sessions. These sessions are structured and facilitated by the program coordinator to make sure everyone feels safe, comfortable and supported.
YOU CC meetings are held once a month on a Saturday in person in Sydney and online. Youth Consultants must try their best to attend at least 9 out of the 12 yearly consultations and are paid for their time and participation.
If you do not live in Sydney, DCJ will organise and pay for your travel costs to and from the meetings.
Youth Consultants also have the opportunity to work on a project. Previous You CC projects include:
DCJ can only choose 16 people to join the group. This means making tough decisions to ensure that the Youth Consultants are from diverse backgrounds including cultures, identities and abilities, with a range of care experiences.
To make sure YOU CC has a diverse range of voices, DCJ will look at things like:
- Where you live (in a big city or a small town)
- Your age and gender
- Your cultural and family background.
- The type of placement you are living in
- If you are supported by DCJ or a non-government agency
Applications open every two years. The next application will open in early to mid-2024.
If you’d like to express your interest for 2024 applications, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hear from previous Youth Consultants
To learn more about YOU CC, watch the videos below to hear from previous Youth Consultants.
More than just a kid in care podcast
More than just a kid in care is a powerful podcast series written, produced and edited by YOU CC that explores what it’s really like to be a kid in care.
Hear the voices of young people in care speak from the heart about identity, rights, participation and belonging.
Listen to the series on Spotify.
Messages by YOU
Messages by YOU was a project developed by YOU CC to support you with your care experience and highlight the importance of your rights.
Read the messages written for you by Lyndsey, Amanda – Lou, Helga, Pauline, Craig, Mark, Harper, Lucy, Lateesha, Ginger, Nikkita, Jessica, Mia, Lilly, Kiera, Turtle Jones, ZJ, Staycy, Dr. Wat and Queen Bee.
Download Messages to young people from young people in out-of-home care (PDF 10.12MB)
You can also watch the stories of 4 Youth Consultants:
You may be interested in getting involved with advocacy groups to raise your voice on issues that matter to you.
Some advocacy groups that you may be interested in are:
AbSec (NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation) is the peak organisation for Aboriginal children and families in NSW. They work to empower Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities impacted by the child protection system.
The AbSec Youth Ambassador program brings together a group of Aboriginal young people aged 16–25 from around NSW to discuss issues they are facing, and to provide advice to the child and family sector regarding policies and programs that affect Aboriginal children and young people.
It’s open to any Aboriginal young person in NSW who is passionate about the Aboriginal child welfare system. Aboriginal young people with personal or family experience of the child protection or out-of-home care systems are particularly encouraged to apply.
You can learn more about the program on the AbSec website or by contacting AbSec on 02 9559 5299.
CREATE Foundation is the national peak consumer body for children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. They represent the voices of over 43,000 children and young people currently in care, and those who have transitioned from care up to the age of 25.
CREATE’s Youth Advisory Groups (YAGs) are designed to provide a platform for young people aged 10-25 with an out-of-home care experience to have their voices heard and to talk about issues they are facing or have faced in the care system.
YAGs are held regularly and are combined with a fun activity. You can learn more on the CREATE Foundation website.
The NSW Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP) works to improve the safety, welfare and wellbeing of all children and young people in NSW. They speak up for children and young people and ensure that their rights are respected, and their points of view heard by adult decision makers.
ACYP’s Youth Advisory Council is made of 12 council members, aged between 12 and 24, living across NSW. They meet regularly throughout the year to discuss a range of topics, as well as monitor and evaluate youth-related policies and legislation.
You can learn more about ACYPs Youth Advisory Council and other ACYP opportunities on then ACYP website.
Youth Action is the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW. They engage young people to raise their voices on the issues that matter the most to them and support the youth sector by running consultations with young people and advocating on their behalf. Young people aged 12 - 24 automatically acquire free membership to Youth Action.
You can get more information on the Youth Action website.