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Restructure for Uniting

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Having a strong desire and passion can really go a long way. This is particularly true in the case of Claerwen Little and her newly created ‘Children’s Advocate’ position within Uniting.

Over her 25 years at the organisation, Little has held a number of senior roles in the organisation, and was also instrumental in establishing the Uniting Centre for Research, Innovation and Advocacy.

Most recently, to strengthen its focus on advocacy for young people, a big restructuring has occurred within Uniting to establish the dedicated ‘Children’s Advocate’ office.

“As the organisation changed – my role moved from working with [general] services and advocacy to a very specific role as a children’s advocate. So basically we have restructured the organisation and created a new role,” said Little.

“We have been working with children in need for over 100 years- the office of the Children’s Advocate has been established to further our commitment.”

Little is adamant that children need to be seen as equal citizens of Australia and said their voices need to be heard.

“I have seen a lot of children in very difficult circumstances. As a country and as a nation, we can really make a difference,” she urged.

“There are far too many children in out of home care, especially Aboriginal children.”

Little said that while there may not be a dedicated position for children’s advocacy in other NFPS, everyone is doing their part to advocate for what they are passionate about.

“We can’t advocate alone, together we can actually make a difference,” said Little.

She said the church is very fortunate to be able to dedicate resources to a role just focused on children’s advocacy.

“As a church we have not always done right by children in the past. We need to always be there for kids and always treat them with respect,” expressed Little.

Little said that something needs to be done about domestic and family violence.

“It is pretty challenging for young people today, if you are suffering from a family breakdown or you are in care – life is not easy. We need to make sure they are well supported,” she said

“We have seen some terrible things – we have two royal commissions going on at the moment looking at how we have treated children in the past.”

Little hopes that the new Children’s Advocacy office will help to better the lives of vulnerable children and make sure that children’s voices are heard by the government and society at large.

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