Press Release

Hanafin brings national children’s strategy to local communities

The Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin, T.D., this week begins a series of nationwide visits to promote the implementation of the new National Children’s Strategy in local communities.

The Minister’s first visit is to Limerick city today. The events include:

  • 09.30 a.m. – Visit to Castletroy College, Limerick
  • 11.00 a.m. – Fora in Jury’s Hotel, Limerick for community groups, parents and local statutory bodies
  • 03.00 p.m. – Fora for children and young people in the Glentworth Hotel

Further visits are planned by Minister Hanafin for Cork, Galway, Monaghan, Waterford, Donegal, Kerry, Westmeath, Dublin and Mayo (see appendix for details).

The seminar for children and young people is being organised by the ISPCC in co-operation with the National Children’s Office. Young representatives from schools and community groups will attend and will discuss with Minister Hanafin how they feel they can contribute to the implementation of the Strategy and how the Strategy will impact on their lives.

The following groups from counties Limerick, Tipperary and Clare have been invited to the forum in Jury’s Hotel; local T.D.s, Senators and City/County Councillors; members of the County Childcare Committees, youthreach officers and representatives from City/County Development boards, Health Boards, Regional Authorities, voluntary groups including youth groups and groups funded by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, National Parents Council, V.E.C.s and Traveller groups. The purpose of the forum is to promote community involvement in the implementation of the National Children’s Strategy. That implementation is being led by the City and County Development Boards (CDBs).

The City and County Development Boards, which were established by government last year, have been identified as the key bodies to lead the implementation of the Strategy in local communities. They bring together all the key players at a local level and have responsibility for drawing up Strategies for Economic, Social and Cultural Development for each County/City Development area by January 2002. The CDBs will be required to ensure that children’s issues, as identified in the Strategy, are addressed in their local plans and strategies and that children and the local community participate in their development.

The National Children’s Strategy ‘Our Children -Their Lives’ was launched last November. It is a ten year plan to improve the quality of all children’s lives and includes a range of proposed actions across such areas as ensuring that every child has access to play and recreation facilities and that their needs and views are considered in decisions that affect them. The Strategy includes a major reform of how the government co-ordinates and delivers services for children.

Speaking at the seminar for community groups, parents and local statutory bodies the Minister said “This Strategy is for children and young people at a local and national level. It can only be implemented if everybody who cares for children or makes policy decisions which affect children is committed to its implementation. It is important that your organisations participate in the implementation of the Strategy at a local level.”

The Minister also emphasized the importance of listening to and consulting with young people on issues which affect their lives. She said that one of the National Goals of the Strategy is to give children a voice and that children should be consulted on the implementation of the Strategy at local level.