Wales: Benevolent land of advocacy and children’s rights?


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"Wales: Benevolent land of advocacy and children’s rights?" - Steve O'Neill, Policy Director at Children in Wales talks to day 1 of the 2010 CROA Conference:

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Wales: Benevolent land of advocacy and children’s rights?

  1. 1. Wales: Benevolent land of advocacy and children’s rights? Sean O’Neill Policy Director CROA Conference 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>National umbrella children's organisation in Wales (est. 1992), bringing organisations and individuals together to: </li></ul><ul><li>Make the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child a reality in Wales. </li></ul><ul><li>Fight for sustainable quality services and fair shares for all children and young people. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure special attention and treatment for children in need. </li></ul><ul><li>Give children and young people a voice. </li></ul><ul><li>Children in Wales have almost 200 members, including the major voluntary children’s agencies, professional associations, LHBs and local authorities, as well as many smaller community groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Works in partnership with Children in Scotland, National Children's Bureau (England), Children in Northern Ireland and Eurochild (Europe). </li></ul>Head Office: 25 Windsor Place, Cardiff CF10 3BZ Tel: 029 20 342434 Fax: 029 20 343134   North Wales Office: 24-26 Stryd Fawr, Caernarfon LL55 1RH Tel: 01286 677570 Fax: 01286 676095   
  3. 3. In Wales The Welsh Assembly Government formally adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a foundation of principal for all issues relating to children in a plenary debate on 14 th January 2004. 7 Core Aims (Rights to Action 2004)
  4. 4. Welsh Assembly Government’s Seven Core Aims All Children and Young People… <ul><li>Have a flying start in life </li></ul><ul><li>Have a comprehensive range of education and learning opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy the best possible health and are free from abuse, victimisation and exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>Have access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities </li></ul><ul><li>Are listened to, treated with respect and have their race and cultural identity recognised </li></ul><ul><li>Have a safe home and community which supports physical and emotional wellbeing </li></ul><ul><li>Are not disadvantaged by poverty </li></ul>
  5. 5. Structures to support Children’s Rights <ul><li>Funky Dragon - the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales - is a peer-led organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Councils and Forums </li></ul><ul><li>School Councils </li></ul><ul><li>Locally based projects </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s Commissioner for Wales (1st in UK) </li></ul><ul><li>Participation Consortium </li></ul><ul><li>Participation workers Wales – website </li></ul><ul><li>Children & Families Measure (law) 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure - current </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>How are we doing in implementing Children’s Rights? </li></ul><ul><li>UNCRC adopted as guiding principles </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy for Children in Need on a statutory footing </li></ul><ul><li>Participation structures (local and national) </li></ul><ul><li>5-year plan to address the UN Concluding Observations </li></ul><ul><li>But…. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues in areas of </li></ul><ul><li>bullying, mental health services, child poverty rates, LAC outcomes still poor, awareness of UNCRC and children's rights amongst children low as well as non-devolved issues. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Recommendations on LAC from NGO alternative report / 2008 UN Concluding Observations <ul><li>LA should provide a range of quality placements to meet needs of CYP </li></ul><ul><li>CYP in care are able to maintain secure and enjoyable placements </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements in frontline services in health esp. mental health, education and social services for LAC </li></ul><ul><li>All LAC in Wales to have access to independent advocacy and support in raising concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Increased accommodation options for care leavers including supported lodgings and ability to stay in foster placements </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Advocacy in Wales since the Waterhouse Report ‘Lost in Care’ 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Cardiff University study (2005) – key messages </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Right to independent support </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible and visible </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Part of the wider participation agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy beyond social services </li></ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><li>“ A pressing need for change seems hard to refute” </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Welsh Assembly Government's New Model </li></ul><ul><li>Open Access Advocacy – Universal </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Specialist Advocacy Services </li></ul><ul><li>Quality and Consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Participation of Children and Young People </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Welsh Assembly Government’s Actions </li></ul><ul><li>MEIC – National Advocacy and Helpline Advice Service </li></ul><ul><li>Joint / Regional commissioning of integrated specialist advocacy services </li></ul><ul><li>Training and nationally recognised Qualification </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s Advocacy Unit </li></ul><ul><li>National Independent Advocacy Board </li></ul><ul><li>Effective use of the National Standards for Advocacy Services </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Commissioning arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure on existing services </li></ul><ul><li>Raising awareness and accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Joint working amongst advocacy providers </li></ul><ul><li>Gaps and limitations in service provisions </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of the Recession – unravelling? </li></ul>Key Pressure Points
  12. 14. October 20 th – time bomb Cuts Cuts Cuts WHAT THEN FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS AND ADVOCACY ?
  13. 15. Sean O’Neill [email_address] Children in Wales Diolch am Gwrando – Thank you for Listening