Picture of Children and Young People in the ACT 2018 is the seventh publication in this series, and provides a comprehensive whole-of-government report, highlighting the progress of children and young people in the ACT against key indicators.
The ACT is increasingly regarded as one of Australia’s most livable regions and offers great opportunities to support children and young people in reaching their full potential. Children and young people are the future of our community. To reach their full potential, they require nurturing, support, and encouragement as they make their journey into adulthood and independence.
In order to do this effectively, we need good data to understand where we are making a difference, and where we need to improve. This highly regarded publication provides important information about the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the ACT community. It presents a robust evidence base and early identification of emerging trends, supporting early intervention principles, and informing planning, policy and integrated service delivery across our human services programs.
It is critical to monitor and analyse comparative data at regular intervals, so that we know how our children and young people are faring over time. This is the first publication of A Picture since moving to a biennial cycle. This allows for greater availability of some of the key data sets, more time for review and development during the non-publication year, and interactive enhancements to our web edition. This year’s publication also improves useability, by providing a wider policy context and strategic linkages to other relevant data collections. Since the inaugural report in 2011, the general trend for the ACT is that most children and young people are faring well, overall. This trend has remained largely constant with the current release for 2018, with performance steadily maintained across a number of wellbeing areas, in addition to a number of improvements. Positive outcomes recorded in the 2018 publication include:
- more young children fully immunised, with a significant rise for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, up from 89 per cent in 2016 to 96.8 per cent
- an increase in the number of children and young people with a disability enrolled in education, up from 2,981 in 2016 to 3,331
- a greater proportion of Year 12 graduates employed or studying, up from 91.9 per cent in 2014, to 93.4 per cent
- continuation of a lower teenage birth rate than the national rate. These are great successes, however, we know that some children and young people in our community remain at risk of disadvantage and continue to face significant challenges in their daily lives.
The ACT Government is working hard to respond to ever changing needs of the ACT community and we are committed to do the absolute best we can for our children and young people.
I encourage all those working with the ACT community to view A Picture of Children and Young People in the ACT 2018. It provides the opportunity to reflect on the roles we can all play to improve the healthy development and life choices of our children and young people.
Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA
Minister for Children, Youth and Families