Minister Mary Hanafin brings National Children´s Strategy to Galway
Praise for Galway Corporation on being child-centred
Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Children is in Galway today (Friday 18th May) to talk to children, families and local communities about their role in implementing the National Children´s Strategy.
The Ministers visit to Galway city today includes the following events:
- 10.00 a.m. Visit to Móinín na gCiseach Community College,
- 11.00 a.m. Community Forum in the Ardilaun Hotel for community groups, parents and local statutory bodies
- 3.00 p.m. Children´s Forum for children and young people in Ardilaun Hotel, Galway
The National Children´s Strategy, launched by an Taoiseach last November, is a plan of action which calls on the statutory agencies, the voluntary sector, local communities, families and children to work together to improve the quality of children´s lives. The Strategy includes a major reform of how the government co-ordinates and delivers services for children. Her aim in visiting Galway to-day is to speak to a wide range of organisations and individuals to build their support and involvement in implementing the Strategy.
Speaking at the community forum the Minister said “This Strategy is for children and young people at a local and national level. We can look to the example Galway Corporation is setting other local authorities in their proposal to become Ireland´s first Child-Friendly City. Their proposal, which would be built into the Galway City Social, Economic and Cultural Strategy, includes looking at issues such as making housing developments child centered, addressing the needs of children in traffic management and building children’s participation into the development of local strategies. These proposals make implementation of the National Children´s Strategy real at a local level. ”
Minister Hanafin went on to say “It is important that this reality filters down to decision-making across all organisations which impact on children and allow children to fully participate in their own communities.”
The Minister spoke of the importance of local implementation of the Strategy to ensure that services and supports for children are better coordinated. The City and County Development Boards (CDB´s), 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 are 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 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.
Over 200 representatives from counties Galway, Longford and Roscommon have been invited to the Community Forum including local T.D.s, Senators and City/County Councillors, members of the County Childcare Committees, Youthreach officers, members of City/County Development Boards, Health Boards, Regional Authorities, voluntary/community groups including youth groups, Community Development Groups, members of the National Parents Council, V.E.C.s and Traveller groups and those from the area who made submissions to the development of the National Children´s Strategy.
The Children´s Forum will include some 70 representatives of children and young people schools and community groups from the area. The Children´s Forum is being organised by the ISPCC in co-operation with the National Children´s Office. These young people will discuss with Minister Hanafin how they feel they can contribute to the implementation of the Strategy, the issues that concern them and the potential impact of the Strategy on their lives.