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A message from our CEO Julie Hourigan Ruse this Youth Week

National Youth Week is currently being celebrated and the theme this year is It’s up to YOU’th.

At SHINE we know that children and young people’s voices and experiences matter, they will shape the future for all of us, and yet they are too often overlooked.

That’s one of the reasons we are establishing a Youth Advisory Council.

We are looking to gather and share the views of young people who have experienced having a family member in custody.

They will be best positioned after all to guide us in what’s important to them and their families and on how we can best advocate for them together.

While we are still in the initial stage of establishing the council, we have heard from some very impressive young people already.

A recurring conversation we have with young people and families is how key education has been to them.

This is what one of our prospective members, Jack, has to say on the matter:

“Growing up in the heartland of country NSW with a sole parent who was the first member in our family to pursue higher education, I have seen first-hand the power it has to change the trajectory of a life.


“As a child, I vividly remember the move from a small country town to Dubbo in order for my mother to train as a school teacher. The countless hours she spent completing assignments and attending lectures is largely responsible for my drive to pursue higher education.


“I think [one of] the main issues impacting children with a parent in prison is poor educational outcomes.”


Jack is a young Aboriginal man and says his, “lived experience of having members of my extended family in prison and witnessing first-hand the devastating impact this has on children,” has made him passionate about raising awareness and understanding around the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous people.

Parental incarceration is an issue affecting about 45,000 children in Australia right now, yet we don’t know their number precisely as they are not counted in any data gathered by the government.

We don’t hear their voice as they are hidden.

We hope that with time, this council can inform our advocacy, raise awareness of parental incarceration, and lead to better government policy.

Find out more about our Youth Advisory Council and apply to join it here

You can find out more about Youth Week here

A message from our CEO Julie Hourigan Ruse this Youth Week

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