6 Dec 2005

Children’s services still need improving

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams, said children’s services still need improving, despite recent investment.

In his response to the Government’s Draft Priorities and Budget 2006-2008 consultation Mr Williams said that while he welcomed progress made with the announcement of £25 million investment per year for the next two years for some areas of children’s services, more still needs to be done.

“I remain concerned that, despite considerable investment, a number of services significant in the lives of children and young people remain inadequate and ineffective, particularly those specific to disadvantaged children and young people,” said the Commissioner.

“There remain considerable problems for children with special needs getting the services they need, for example in speech and language therapy. I hope that the Government will take on board the comments made in response to their draft budget to look at these issues.”

Mr Williams said Government must use the opportunity of the Priorities and Budget to set minimum standards – based on rights - for children and young people to access these services.

The Commissioner said he hoped targets will be set for government departments responsible for providing services to child and young people to make sure action is taken to improve the lives of children and young people and their families.

Notes for Editors

The full text of Mr Williams response to the draft priorities and budget will be available from 12.00 noon on 6th December.

For further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People please visit www.niccy.org