Must do Better for Children in Care

21 August 2015 News

NICCY responds to NIHRC report on Children in Care

COMMENTING on the release of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) report, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, said:

“I welcome the publication of this report today as it helps to shine a light, and focus attention on issues faced by some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society.

“I am particularly concerned about the fact that in 2015 the issue of the criminalisation and unnecessary incarceration of our young people still persists, even though this report is the latest in a long line of reports making similar recommendations.

“Every child and young person in Northern Ireland should be afforded protection of their rights, as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

“This is particularly true for those children in care. They are our most vulnerable children, yet this report demonstrates how they are being let down by the systems, policies and processes.

“These children are looked after by the state, with the government having ‘corporate parenting’ responsibility for them. Surely it is right that we use the same test, and apply the same expectations over how they are treated, as we would for any parent in our community.

“The report is timely as we enter the reporting process on the UNCRC, and is an area that the four UK Children’s Commissioner’s have identified in their Report to the Committee. It identifies a number of areas where improvements are needed, and outlines recommendations for how this can be achieved.

“NICCY has been working on many of the issues affecting marginalised and vulnerable children and young people, and will work along with the NIHRC to monitor and progress the specific recommendations from the report.”


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Notes to Editors:

  • The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established in 2003. The current Commissioner, Koulla Yiasouma, took up post in March of this year.
  • The Commissioner has been active on a number of areas relating to today’s report including work on
    • Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation
    • Participation and voice of young people in care – VOYPIC groups
    • Visits to secure care facilities for children and young people
    • A scrutiny role for the Youth Justice Review programme