An urgent call to refocus Australia’s pathway out of the pandemic for children and young people 

Lost learning. Mental health struggles. Financial hardship. 

The pandemic has had a profound impact on children and young people in Australia, the consequences of which may last long into the future. Australia’s national focus in the COVID-19 response has so far been mostly focussed on the health and wellbeing of adults.

UNICEF Australia and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) have partnered to call on decision makers to refocus our pathway out of the pandemic to meet the needs of children and young people.
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What is life like for children and young people during the pandemic? 


More than half of young 
people aged 18-29 feel 
more negative about their future than before the pandemic.

46 per cent of children and young people are at risk of adverse effects on their wellbeing by being physically disconnected from school.

Nearly half of people aged18-24 year reported being unable to pay their rent or mortgage on time. 

We need to act now 

We need to urgently refocus Australia’s pathway out of the COVID-19 pandemic to the needs of children and young people who have not received the attention they deserve.  

Decision makers must take the following six steps over the coming months to urgently meet those needs: 

  1. Give children and young people a seat at the table and plan for their futures 
  2. Get children and young people safely back to school and keep them open 
  3. Prioritise the vaccination of children and young people 
  4. Urgently provide support for mental health 
  5. Stimulate employment pathways and provide support for those in need 
  6. Leave no one behind in our pandemic response 
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“Children and young people have been largely overlooked in the recovery plan and
we cannot delay addressing
their needs any longer.”

- Nicole Breeze, Director of Australian Programs and Child Rights, UNICEF Australia 
Children and young people have lost learning and more during the pandemic. © UNICEF Australia/2020/Kleine