Canaries were used to detect toxic gases before they hurt humans in the mining industry.

When it comes to the future of the planet, children really are the proverbial ‘canaries in the coal mine’. …


Children and young people born since the year 2000 have lived through a period of significant social and technological transformation. This period of rapid change has disrupted the social status quo and challenged previously held understandings and constructs. We have been rocked by the scrutiny of Royal Commissions, investigations and…


As our country’s highest institutions grapple with sexual and gender inequality, our media landscape and public are united in their demand for ‘better education of our boys’ early on.

There are myriad long-standing social barriers relating to gender equality with poor sexual education now at the front line.

In my…


My report Press Play — Activating young people’s health and wellbeing through play, documents findings of a survey I undertook in 2019 of 500 South Australian young people aged 13–18 on the importance of play in their lives.

I was particularly interested to hear their views on this subject because…


Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

The impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s labour market is starting to sink in.
It is fast becoming the next big challenge for government, business and community. Getting people back to work quickly and safely will soon be
the new urgency — not so much on avoiding the virus itself.

Young…


Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

One of the characteristics of this century has been the creation of more defined stages of life, each with its own distinct features and cultural tropes. Examples include tweens, teens, over 18 year olds attending secondary school, or adult kids living in share house arrangements with parents.

Of these, it…


Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

Playground equipment is no longer safe, organised sport is out, movies are closed and fast food outlets are reduced to drive throughs. There will be less tolerance of children being outdoor and in public places on their own. Plus parents are likely to feel increased concern and guilt about allowing…


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Over many years working with children and young people, I have met kids who are enthusiastic, energetic, optimistic and idealistic. I have also met kids who are frustrated and desperate, angry, heartbroken and lost.

These two kinds of children and young people live and play side by side in childcare…


Many of the children and young people living in the 2015 bushfire affected communities of Pinery and Sampson Flat, and more recently affected communities of Cudlee Creek, Port Lincoln, Yorktown, and Kangaroo Island, have been part of a wide ranging series of conversations I have had about their future hopes…


Surfing online waters can be a dangerous pursuit. Not quite the sharks and rips, shore breaks and leash tangles of real waters, but still for many, as scary as the ocean. How can we best support young people to surf these waters safely?

To take the analogy further, do we…

Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly is South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People. She advocates for change at the systemic level to improve C&YPs lives.

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