The Department of Health [DoH] and Department of Education [DE] have launched a public consultation on the draft Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives.
Both departments have pledged to support children and young people in care; those on the edge of care and also those young people who have left care and are still in need of some support.
The draft Strategy was developed with the input of children in care and other stakeholders and aims to improve the life outcomes for looked after children.
NI’s Chief Social Work Officer, Sean Holland, is encouraging children and young people who are care experienced to give their views. He said: “It’s really important that care experienced children and young people help shape the Strategy. We have a draft, which we now want to take views on and I want to strongly encourage them to consider the draft Strategy and to make their views known. They know better than anybody what steps we need to take to make life better for a child or young person in care and I really believe that we can always do better.”
Tommy O’Reilly, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education, said: “We are committed to helping these children achieve their full potential in line with their peers and to reduce the differences which currently exist in areas such as educational achievement. The Strategy looks at ways to address the issues facing children and young people in care in the areas of health, education, personal safety, economic and environmental well-being and their ability to make a positive contribution to society.”
The Consultation will be open from today (9 May 2018) until July 4 and DoH and DE would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to contribute via the following link:https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/
Alternatively, printed copies of the Consultation document can be obtained by telephoning or writing to:
- Department of Health, Family and Children’s Policy Directorate, Room A3.3, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4 3SQ, Tel: 028 9052 0646.
- Department of Education, Pupil Support Team, Room F17, Rathgael House, Bangor, BT19 7PR, Tel: 028 9127 9263.
The online consultation will be complemented by public workshops held at venues across Northern Ireland. Places, which are free of charge, can be reserved via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/ It is anticipated that the Workshops will provide interested parties with the opportunity to engage in person to discuss and contribute to the co-production of the Strategy.