Child Protection Warriors
This week's warrior is Siyavash Doostkhah. Siyavash is the Director of Youth Affairs Network of Qld (YANQ).
For the past 10 years, Siyavash has been representing the youth sector and advocating on youth issues.
I asked Siyavash what inspires him to advocate for young people? "I strongly believe that the only way for us, as a society, to become progressive and civilised is by looking after our children and young people as well as our elders. Society is like a garden, the more we attend to it and look after plants when they are young, the more joy and benefits we get from the garden in years to come. In contrast, the more we neglect this garden, the more it becomes overgrown and problematic."
YANQ have put in a submission to the child protection inquiry that focusses on medication of children in state care. Siyavash is passionate about this issue.
"No child in care of the state should be on these powerful and dangerous psychotropic drugs. There should be an immediate moratorium on use of all stimulant drugs and an independent objective review of the dangerously high rates of stimulant prescriptions. These rates for children in care are currently well over double those in the general population, with drugs being given to very young children in care in order to treat ‘disorders’ that are lacking in scientific validation and in a manner that is often legally unauthorised and ethically irresponsible. To use children in care as guinea pigs and to drug children under six in direct opposition to the black label warning on the medication is morally repugnant and should be criminally investigated."
Finally I asked Siyavash what is his greatest achievement on advocating for young people?
"As we are using the resources of a small NGO to take on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, we know that our successes are going to be accumulative. Therefore, we celebrate every small win, even if that is protecting one child from these powerful and harmful drugs."
Click here for more information on YANQ's 'Celebrate, Don't Medicate' campaign
Click here to read YANQ's inquiry submission