The children’s commissioner has launched two national surveys about Australian children and young people about their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the first day of school for most students across the country, national children’s commissioner Anne Hollonds announced the government-funded survey had opened.
Hollonds said that responses to the survey, from children and young people, their parents, carers and grandparents, would inform decisions about how to support Australians aged 9-17 as the pandemic persisted.
“Children and young people have not had many opportunities to be heard during the pandemic. This is a unique opportunity for them and their parents to contribute to recommendations for service improvements,” the commissioner said.
“Your story is important, and sharing it will help to build better support for children in the future,” she added.
In a statement shared on the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) website, 17-year-old Jayden Delbridge highlighted the challenges of learning remotely when some students were directed to learn from home during the pandemic.
“Home-based learning for me was absolutely horrible. I lost interest in some of my favourite subjects because I just couldn’t do them online,” Jayden said.
Delbridge, who is a member of the NSW Youth Advisory Council, said that some of his friends could not find appropriate support during this time and dropped out of school.
The commission will conduct two confidential surveys, one about the impact of the pandemic on children and young people, and the other focusing on the experiences and perspectives of families during COVID-19.
Funding for the surveys will come from the National Mental Health Commission and the AHRC will release the findings later in 2022.
— Anne Hollonds (@AnneHollonds) January 30, 2022
Citing the latest effects of the Omicron COVID outbreak in Australia, commissioner Hollonds said that the lives of children continued to be disrupted.
“The surveys will consider the social, emotional, educational, and other impacts children and young people have experienced over the past two years.
“Understanding these impacts in greater detail will help governments design better services to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people,” she said.