Hanafin publishes results of Public Consultation on National Children’s Strategy
Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin T.D., today (Monday, September 18th) launched the results of the public consultation process, which has been an integral part of the development of the Government’s National Children’s Strategy.
The National Children’s Strategy will aim to improve the quality of children’s lives over the next ten years and will reflect the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It will set out the means to better support our children to enable them to enjoy their childhood and enhance their capacity to contribute to our society.
Central to the National Children’s Strategy’s development has been a comprehensive consultation process with both adults and children. Submissions were sought through the National press from parents and others who care for, and work with, children. In addition, a specially-targeted campaign was aimed directly at children and young people, encouraging their involvement in the process.
“A total of 2,488 children and young people participated in the consultation process, sending me e-mails and letters, and by attending sessions held with various voluntary organisations. I also had an opportunity to meet with many of these children during visits to a number of schools nationwide. In addition, Scoilnet and RTÉ’s DEN TV provided very effective platforms for me to get the message across to young people that the Government was interested in hearing their views.” said Minister Hanafin.
This was the first time that the Government has consulted with children to contribute to policy formulation, and this innovative departure has been very well received.
The results of the consultation process are contained in three publications:
- Report of the Public Consultation
- Report to Children on the Public Consultation
- Report of the Public Consultation- Executive Summary
The Report to Children on the Public Consultation is a special summary for younger children, of the results of the consultation process. This is also the first time that a Government publication has been written specially for children, and Minister Hanafin hopes to encourage other Government Departments to follow her initiative.
All of the adult’s submissions addressed some aspects of children’s needs and well-being, with the majority of the submissions having a focus on services. The main focus was on children’s health and education, children’s participation as active citizens and children’s informal learning, play and recreation. Other areas which were addressed were the problems of disadvantaged children and children living in poverty and the provision of family and community support systems for children. The area of policy co-ordination and the devolution of services to local communities also attracted comment.
One adult said “The challenge for young people is to be able to play their part, to be listened to and to be able to access the skills and support they need in order to develop as active citizens”.
A large number of issues were raised by children and young people. The predominant themes were play and leisure, the environment, social issues, giving children a voice and the right to a good quality of life.
Daphne said “I want that every child is loved like I am loved”.
Minister Hanafin said “I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this consultation process. The ideas and proposals which I have received from adults and particularly from children are quite thought-provoking and very useful. This consultation process has been an extremely important part of the development of the National Children’s Strategy and many of the issues raised will be incorporated into the Strategy. The consultation does not end here. It will continue as part of the implementation of the Strategy”.
The National Children’s Strategy is currently in the final stages of development and it will be published next month.