Paediatrics is a medical specialty concerned with the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Advocacy for the health needs of children and young people is a key component of a paediatrician’s work.
The Paediatrics & Child Health Policy and Advocacy Committee oversee the paediatric policy and advocacy agenda. This includes developing RACP policy positions relating to child health and informing RACP advocacy on issues related to the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Health care of children in care and protection services – Australia
On 21 June 2023, the RACP Health care of children in care and protection services – Australia position statement (PDF) was launched at the RACP 2023 Parliamentary Child Health Roundtable at Parliament House, Canberra. The RACP hosted the event with the Parliamentary Friends of Child and Adolescent Health and Mental Health, which is Co-Chaired by Dr Mike Freelander MP, Dr David Gillespie MP, and Dr Monique Ryan MP, who are all Fellows of the RACP and attended the Roundtable.
The position statement considers current evidence and proposes strategies and recommendations to deliver effective health care to children and young people who are at risk of entering out-of-home care, are in out-of-home care, or are in contact with care and protection services across Australia. Recommendations are directed to the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments, and providers/workers involved with children and young people, health, care and protection services, across Australia.
To complement the position statement, a summary document (PDF) as well as an overview of the principles and recommendations (PDF) have been developed.
The Roundtable raised awareness across the Australian Federal Parliament of the health and wellbeing needs of children in care and protection services and youth justice settings. The Roundtable provided a valuable space for Members of Parliament, government advisers and key stakeholders to discuss ways to improve the health and care for these children, including showcasing innovative models of care. The Roundtable was well attended by Federal Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, RACP members, key stakeholders and leaders of child health organisations.
The RACP 2023 Parliamentary Child Health Roundtable (PDF) has been published which provides a summary of the event, identifies the key learnings and establishes next steps.
The Child Health Advocacy Strategy 2022-25 (PDF) provides an overarching framework for advocacy and takes a rights-based approach to child health. The Strategy builds on our positions established in the statements: Inequities in Child Health (2018), Early Childhood: The Importance of the Early Years (2019) and Indigenous Child Health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (2020).
The Strategy is a key advocacy piece for the Paediatrics and Child Health Division, with 4 key focus areas:
- Strengthening whole-of-government planning and accountability for child health outcomes
- Promoting healthy relationships: parental, child and adolescent mental health
- Enhancing access to quality early childhood education
- Promoting healthy nutrition and oral health
Kids Catch Up campaign
In February 2022 the PCHD launched the Kids Covid Catch Up (KCCU) campaign that focused on concerns about children’s schooling and wellbeing in relation to COVID-19 pandemic recovery. With a reduced focus on COVID-19, the campaign has been renamed the Kids Catch Up (KCU) campaign. The campaign has been shaped to align with our Child Health Advocacy Strategy.
The ’Switch of the Junk’ mini-campaign launched on 19 June 2023. The campaign aims to secure the regulation of junk food advertising to reduce the rates of obesity in children and young people. The campaign aligns with the Private Members Bill, Broadcasting Services Amendment (Healthy Kids Advertising) Bill 2023, introduced by Dr Sophie Scamps MP in June 2023. The RACP has been involved in the development of the Bill.
See more information on Kids Catch Up and Switch of the Junk
Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
Adolescents and young adults face a range of specific health challenges that, if properly managed, can enhance their health and wellbeing throughout adulthood. The RACP advocates for health system responses to the unique health needs of this age group. This work is led by the RACP’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Committee. This has included a particular focus on access to appropriate health care for young people – particularly those with chronic health conditions.
This Committee has also contributed to advocacy on the health needs of LGBTQIA young people, the mental health of young people, and sexual and reproductive health care of young people.
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Read published RACP policies, position statements or submissions by searching the Policy and Advocacy Library.