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Forum aims to up skill young participants

13 February 2006

Youth Forum aims to up skill young conference participants

Tomorrow will see the start of the Tenth Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (ACCAN). It is the first time the conference has been held in New Zealand and it will feature national and internationally renowned keynote speakers. ACCAN will take place over three days between the 14th and 16th of February 2006 at the Wellington Convention Centre.

Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro stresses that a key component of ACCAN is the participation of young people.

“The theme of ACCAN 2006 is Kia Puawai Nga Tamariki Blossoming of Our Children – Resilience, Rights, Responsibilities. It will be based around initiatives that have been developed to prevent child abuse and neglect and show how people can work together so that all children and young people can reach their potential,” she said.

“The co-hosts realised that the conference needed to include young people, in the roles of presenting and participating. In order to allow the voice of child and young people at the conference, there will be keynote opportunities and concurrent sessions where young people will present.”

“In addition, a pre-conference Youth Forum is being held today for ACCAN participants aged between 16 and 24 years. It aims to provide young delegates with the skills to meaningfully participate in the conference and to provide a supportive environment for them to get to know one another. It will feature workshops on developing skills such as speaking up and facilitation.”

The Youth Forum is being sponsored by the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Youth Development, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Families Commission and the Department of Child Youth and Family Services.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Young People’s Reference Group (YPRG) have been charged with the organising and hosting of the Youth Forum. The YPRG are a group of nine young people aged 14 to 18 from around New Zealand. Their role is to advise the Commissioner on issues impacting on young people. YPRG member Keegan Bartlett is looking forward to ACCAN.

“The Youth Forum is an incrediable opportunity to met other youth participants and to learn skills that will be useful for ACCAN and for other events in the future. ACCAN is an important international conference and it has been a great experience being involved in organising the participation of other young people,” he said.

ENDS

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