7 Dec 2006

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Barney McNeany, welcomed the announcement of extra resources for crucial services from the Northern Ireland Office.

The Commissioner said investment in family support, speech and language therapy, wheelchair services and support for young carers was a great early Christmas present for the children and young people who need these services.

But Mr McNeany also warned that there was more needed to be done to protect and support vulnerable children and young people.

“We have been advising Government for some time to improve these services, through our work on research, service review, sharing best practice and telling Government about the impact inadequate and ineffective services have on the lives of individual children and young people,” he said.

“That work over the past two years has now come to fruition with this much needed cash injection and we are delighted that current Government Ministers have focussed further resources on the needs of disadvantaged children and young people.

“I now look forward to seeing how the money will be applied on the ground, for example in allowing greater flexibility in how speech and language therapy services are delivered.”

Mr McNeany said that while this was a very welcome injection of cash, more needed to be done.

“There are areas such as child and adolescent mental health services that need urgent improvement. The lives of children and young people are at times quite literally at risk.

"Whilst we recognise that a big investment, such as is required in child and adolescent mental health services, needs clear policy and strategy this is now here with the recent publication of Professor Bamford’s review of Mental Health and Learning Disability. He stressed that children and young people have immediate needs which are not being met now; they cannot wait.”

Notes for Editors

  • Details of the work undertaken by NICCY in these areas and others can be found here on the NICCY web site