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"Ambitious" and "powerful" new children's policy welcomed

The framework sets out a number of commitments for making life better in Ireland for children.

Image: Superchild via Shutterstock

A NEW POLICY for children in Ireland has been welcomed as “ambitious” and “powerful” by child and youth groups.

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 -2020 was launched by Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, yesterday, along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

What it sets out to do

This is the first overarching national policy framework for children and young people aged from birth to 24 years.

It will be implemented by the Department of Children and Young Affairs, in collaboration with all Government departments and key State agencies.

The framework is centred towards achieving five outcomes which were identified as most important for children and young people in Ireland.

These will be worked towards through a series of actions, described as “key transformational goals”.

The framework includes over 160 commitments, including:

  • From focusing on early interventions and quality services to promote
    best outcomes for children, particularly in the early years
  • To working better together to protect young people who are marginalised, at-risk or who demonstrate challenging or high-risk behaviour
  • To setting a target of lifting 70,000 children out of poverty by 2020
  • To improving childhood health and wellbeing in line with goals of ‘Healthy Ireland’
  • To enhancing job opportunities for young people
  • To delivering better supports for families and parenting.

Welcomed

Early Childhood Ireland welcomed the framework, saying that the commitment to ensuring quality services for children with disabilities “is particularly timely and something our members have been calling for”.

On first glance, this is an impressive and ambitious national policy framework, taking a whole of Government approach which is most welcome and necessary. Hopefully, the stated transformational goals will mobilise everyone into action while ensuring accountability

The Children’s Rights Alliance commending Minister Fitzgerald and her Department on producing “such an ambitious and innovative roadmap for children in Ireland”.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said that the framework “contains many important firsts for Ireland”.

The alliance believes the framework is a “powerful vehicle to deliver positive changes for children and young people”.

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) described the framework as a “welcome development”. It said that the challenge now “will be to put in place the systems, ensure proper resourcing and take the actions needed to make sure that the outcomes in this policy framework can be achieved”.

Read: Go-ahead given to free GP care for under sixes>

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