There are three main priority areas that are the focus of much of our work. These are:
Reducing Child Poverty
It is not acceptable that there are 96,000 children in NI living in absolute poverty. Nor is it acceptable that they will be joined by approximately another 31,000 in the next five years.
NI has intolerable educational inequalities and gaps which need to be closed. It is well documented that our poorest and most vulnerable children and young people are fairing the worst.
Mental health and Well-Being
It is also well known that children’s mental health services have, at just under 8%, a disproportionally low spend when compared to adults. Additionally, I have considerable concerns with regards to how we serve the needs of our most unwell children and young people and am very worried about how these young people are cared for securely i.e. in juvenile justice centres, secure accommodation and secure mental health facilities.