Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA

Minister for Families and Community Services

I am pleased to once again acknowledge the importance of Children’s Week, a national annual celebration of children and their right to safely enjoy childhood. This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole community to recognise and celebrate our youngest citizens.

The 2021 Children’s Week theme, taken from Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, is ‘Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others.’ This theme is particularly relevant in the current COVID-19 pandemic. In Canberra and throughout the world, children’s lives have changed dramatically as we have navigated new ways of living and staying connected with our communities.

Children and young people have demonstrated impressive strength and resilience as they have adapted to remote learning and physical distancing, while still finding ways to socially connect. We know that this social connection is vital for children’s happiness, health and development. Friends are an important part of a happy childhood and engaging with and developing relationships remains an important focus for children through these challenging times.

While we are focused on keeping children safe, many children and young people are looking to the future of the world they will inherit. Now more than ever, we need to be listening to our children and really hear them as they voice their concerns and ideas for the future.

The ACT Government is continually working to improve the ways we help to keep Canberra’s children safe, healthy, connected and supported to have the best start in life. Each year, Children’s Week is a chance for all leaders in our community to pause and take stock of the role they can play in this whole-of-community responsibility.

Canberra’s children and young people have been equal participants in the sacrifices our community has made to keep each other safe through 2021, and Children’s Week is a great time to honour them.

Have a wonderful Children’s Week!