Child’s rights within the family

“Child’s Rights within the Family”

Children have the right to be safe; be treated with affection and be protected against cruelty and abuse. They are also entitled to a decent education and have access to medical care. We also need to give them the best opportunity to develop themselves to their fullest and give them exposure to what is considered ‘difference’ so it’s a catalyst for their intellectual growth and where they harness virtues of mutual respect and seeking understanding. What is our role as parents or guardians with the welfare of our children? How do we cherish all that is good in our society and bestow that upon our children whilst letting them navigate through life and fend for themselves? How do parents find the middle ground from being too liberal or too protective in their nurturing and what are the children’s rights in the family?

Speech transcript and slides

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Speaker: Megan Mitchell


Having commenced her term on 25 March 2013, Megan will focus solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.

Megan has had extensive experience in issues facing children and young people, having worked with children from all types of backgrounds, including undertaking significant work with vulnerable children.

She has practical expertise in child protection, foster and kinship care, juvenile justice, children’s services, child care, disabilities, and early intervention and prevention services.

Megan’s previous roles include NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People, Executive Director of the ACT Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, Executive Director for Out-of-Home Care in the NSW Department of Community Services and CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service.

Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education, having completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney (1979), a Diploma of Education from the Sydney Teachers College (1980), a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney (1982) and a Master of Arts (Social Policy) from the University of York (1989).

Facilitator: Dr Rachel Carson


Dr Rachel Carson is a socio-legal researcher with expertise in family law and qualitative research about family law disputes. After practising as a family lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher in family law at the Melbourne Law School (University of Melbourne) and was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship to undertake her PhD in this field of research at the University of Melbourne.

Since joining the Family Law and Family Violence team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies in June 2012, Rachel has worked on a range of projects, including the Independent Children’s Lawyer Study and the Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments Project, together with the Institute’s elder abuse scoping studies commissioned by the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department.

In addition to the Institute’s elder abuse research, Rachel is currently engaged in a study of the experiences of children and young people after the separation of their parents and the extent to which their needs are met by the existing family law system services, and a project investigating direct cross examination in family law matters involving alleged or substantiated family violence and the factual and legal context characterising these matters.

Rachel is a consulting editor for the Family Law Review journal and has represented the Institute in various capacities, including as the AIFS observer on the Family Law Council, a body that provides policy advice on family law to the Commonwealth Attorney-General.