Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams today met Children’s Minister, Lord Rooker to discuss ongoing issues for under 18s, including the long-awaited Government strategy for children and young people.
Members of the Commissioner’s Youth Panel, Conor Fitzpatrick and Claire McCambley also were at the meeting to deliver their personal messages to Lord Rooker.
“There are many issues that we believe the Minister should be moving on quickly,” said Claire, “including how disabled young people move from being considered children to receiving services as an adult the day of their 18th birthday.
“This has a particular impact on people with learning disability, for whom the transition can be particularly traumatic.”
Conor said he was concerned that the Minister put in place ways to hear children and young people’s views and opinions.
“NICCY has gone out of its way to out in place the means for children and young people to express their views on the Commissioners work,” he said. “I am pleased that the Minister has committed himself to listen to young people’s views in a number of ways including meeting the NICCY Youth Panel.”
Mr Williams said there were a number of key issues that he brought up with the Minister.
“I am concerned that Minister moves quickly on the Government’s 10-year strategy for children and young people,” the Commissioner said. “I stressed the need to build on existing planning role within Children’s Services focussed on agreed outcomes for children and young people.
“I also took the opportunity to welcome the recently announced additional funding for children’s services and we explored some more detail behind the announced £25m the Government recently pledged to invest over each of the next two years.”
When Lord Rooker was appointed Mr Williams outlined several areas he wanted the new minister to focus on in a letter to the Secretary of State, Peter Hain MP.