Forum: Supporting Children and Young People in their Middle Years: Gaps, Challenges and Opportunities

19 April 2016

This forum, organised by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, will launch Good Shepherd’s literature and policy review on the middle years: One Foot in Each World World: Challenges and Opportunities for Children and Young People in the Middle Years.

Key findings of the report are that the middle years (eight to 12 years of age) are a distinct developmental phase in which children and young people can develop protective behaviours or, conversely, start to engage in risk-taking behaviours.


  • Gender has a significant impact on the challenges and needs experienced by children and young people in their middle years
  • In particular, girls and young women can face distinct issues that stem from gender inequality and stereotypes, including issues relating to poor body image, mental health problems, poor wellbeing, low self-esteem, educational disengagement, early sexualisation and experiences of violence
  • Over a quarter of Australian students have not developed the core skills they require to access educational opportunity in their middle years
  • Children and young people in their middle years may encounter difficulties in the transition from primary to secondary school. Teachers need more training and assistance to support students in their middle years who are at risk of educational disengagement.
  • The middle years are a period in which mental health issues can first start to manifest. There is evidence that girls and young women in their middle years are now experiencing poorer mental health than their male counterparts.

At the “Supporting Children and Young People in their Middle Years” forum policy makers, practitioners and researchers will discuss the report’s findings, service gaps and best practice models when it comes to working with children and young people in the middle years.

Following the forum, Good Shepherd will produce a summary report that outlines key points.