Government voices: speaking and listening to children’s voices- a dialogue

This suggestion although deceptively simple, is a profound issue in relation to our children. By being given the opportunity to raise it here, I am trusting in something akin to the wisdom of children who when given a real voice, speak truth to power with a clarity of vision and directness.

The pandemic has had a disproportionate affect on young children and students. The emphasis has been on raising how the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities for children living in poverty, those going hungry, living with additional needs or living in unsafe family contexts. Front and centre to the many losses for children has been the impact of missing school.

However, there has not been regular, age appropriate direct communication through speaking to the children of this country by any politician in power. Children have been talked about or referred to as ‘our kids’ by our PM and politicians. The PM has acknowledged and thanked parents for their efforts with home schooling during the Covid- 19 pandemic and the challenges this has presented them with but children were not addressed directly about their experiences in this respect. Current policy addresses children through adults by adults.

In the case of any further national crises or future pandemics there should be a commitment to a policy initiative giving children the right to receive information through monthly briefings given in a sensitive manner, using age appropriate and kind language by someone with authority e.g the Children’s Commissioner or the Children’s Laureate, and on National Television. This person acting with a political disposition of being ‘in loco parentis’ given they are making decisions in the best interests of all citizens including explaining to children as citizens and reassuring them about what is happening and by so doing, alleviating their anxiety rather than raising it.




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