15 May 2008

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, today urged Government to speed up delivery of its strategy to support families.

The Commissioner made her comments to mark International Day of the Family, a United Nations annual event.

"A year after the Government began consultation on its ‘Families Matter’ strategy there is no indication when it will be published," said Ms Lewsley.

"It is essential that an inclusive family support and parenting strategy is developed and implemented without delay"

The Commissioner called for all Government departments to recognise and acknowledge the diverse nature of families and put in place much needed support for parents and carers.

"I believe that as we face up to the challenges of the 21st Century the family is the cornerstone of society that can help make sure children and young people have the best start in life and have their rights protected," she said.

"Unfortunately numerous families are struggling with too many issues, not least the problems accessing services such as speech and language therapy or when their children need help with a learning disability or mental health need."

Notes for editors

  • You can find out more information on the work of the Children’s Commissioner visit here on the web site
  • The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to the family as the basic unit of society as well as to promote appropriate action to recognize and promote the importance of families.
  • The theme of this year’s International Day of the Family is ‘Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges’
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the 2008 International Day of the Family can be found here