12 Oct 2007

NICCY helps children’s sector deliver key messages to minister

VOLUNTARY, community and non-Governmental groups can bring valuable insight on children’s issues to the Northern Ireland Executive, Children’s Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley, said today.

Ms Lewsley made her comments as she hosted an event which saw the children’s sector’s priority areas for improving the lives of young people and their families presented to Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA.

The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said the Executive must take on board the concerns of all groups involved with the lives of children so that it can make informed decisions to improve services and policy.

“A number of issues emerged from today’s meeting, including the need for action on the 10 year strategy for children and young people, linked with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” she said “The urgent need to address funding for children and young people’ services was also raised.

“For too long the there has been too little spent on front line services for children – this cannot go on.”

The Commissioner welcomed the Junior Minister attending and said she would be asking him and the Executive to develop ways to make sure Government checked on progress towards achieving the goals set out in the 10-year-strategy for children and young people.

“I believe that it is important that a way is developed which will see each Government minister report to the Northern Ireland Executive their progress in meeting the targets of the strategy.

“By listening to young people directly and the views of groups working for and with children and young people, Government can hear the priority areas that must be tackled as part of that strategy.”