This project aimed to better understand how to support young people with cognitive impairment in making the transition from a best interest's decision-making framework (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) to a will, preference and rights model of decision-making (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; CRPD). This project examined how young people can be supported in a way that respects and supports their evolving capacity.

Many people with disability are infantilised and this can affect their transition to adulthood and beyond. Many have not been exposed to independent decision making, having to rely on caregivers through the transition. Failing to help young people build decision-making capacity can have long-term consequences for life choices and may lead to inappropriate permanent guardianship orders.

Working with CYDA and Inclusion Australia, young people with disability, their carers and other stakeholders were interviewed to understand what policies and practices work and what changes are required in three key settings – for young people living with family, living in out of home care, and living in other settings. 

Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Research Area


Bates, S, J Laurens, M Cross, B Rowe, B Wilson, B Canham, L Hudson, I Katz, R Kayess, and K Fisher. 2022. “Growing Up Making Decisions”. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. (PDF, Word)

Growing Up Making Decisions Easy Read Version (digital acessible version, print accessible version)

National Disability Research Partnership

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) – Miranda Cross, Liz Hudson, Britt Wilson
Inclusion Australia – Becky Rowe, Brooke Canham

Growing up making decisions: A presentation by community researchers at the Virtual Disability Conference 2022: Raising Expectation.

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