External monitoring and accountability
Children’s Commissioners and Child Guardians
Each state and territory has set up an independent children’s commissions and/or guardians to represent children and ensure their rights are upheld, and that they are heard when decisions are being made that directly affect them.
What is a Children’s Commission?
Children’s commissions have been established under legislation as independent bodies. Their primary role is to advocate for children’s rights. They also examine and review legislation, policy and practices that affect the health, welfare, care, protection and development of children.
Why are they important?
Children’s Commissions or their equivalent are important for providing children with an independent voice which aims to uphold their rights.
What is the Difference between a Commissioner and a Guardian?
While a children’s commissioner works to improve services for all children, a children’s guardian works to improve services for children in the care of a department.
In most states and territories the commissioner also acts as the guardian. New South Wales has a separate commissioner (the NSW Commission for Children and Young People) and guardian (the NSW Office for Children - Children’s Guardian) and South Australia has a children’s guardian and no children’s commissioner.