30 Jul 2010

COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, today said children in care throughout Northern Ireland need stability to improve their life chances.

As she launched her policy briefing on children who are in care or who have experienced being in care Ms Lewsley said they are among the most vulnerable group of young people.

"Too often they do not achieve their potential, and end up leaving care with few qualifications, some with poor mental health, many finding it harder to get work and too many at greater risk of living in poverty," said the Commissioner. "And these are children we are supposed to be protecting and supporting.

"One common theme that emerges when looking at their lives is the lack of stability. They are often moved from home to home, from one set of carers to another or from one set of social work professionals to another."

Ms Lewsley's policy and campaign briefing Children and Care is the eighth in a series of 12 marking the 20th year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"As part of my Make It Right campaign I want children and young people to be able to highlight and raise their concerns through participation and campaigning," she said

"Unfortunately children in care are given too few opportunities to participate in decisions about their care."

The Commissioner also highlighted the need for better support for children who have been in care as they move towards independent living.

"Around 200 young people leave care each year with 60% of these having been in care for more than five years. While there has been some progress, we need to make sure that these young people are helped to become valued and independent members of society."

You can take part in the Commissioner's Make It Right campaign by visiting http://www.niccy.org/makeitright  where you'll find information on each month's theme and how to get involved.

Editors Notes

Issued by: 
Communications & Participation
Tel: 02890 316397
Fax: 02890 314545
Mob/out of hours: 07917 543 953
Email: communications@niccy.org