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Cofrestrwch ar gyfer y canlynol: Cylchlythyr | Newyddion

Welsh Government leading on children's rights

Over 90 years ago a woman called Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, championed what was then a revolutionary idea: a convention for children's rights. Nearly a century later, Wales has become the first UK nation to embed the convention in law.
Dydd Sul 06 Mai 2012
Cyhoeddwyd yn Saesneg yn unig yn y Western Mail

A lot of work is being done to back up our belief that every child in Wales should be entitled to a good start in life and the best possible chances to grow up free from poverty and harm.

These are tough times for families and we must prioritise the needs of the poorest and protect the most vulnerable. The Welsh Government has already pledged to double the number of children benefiting from the Flying Start scheme, just one of the programmes to achieve these goals.

Flying Start helps families with young children living in disadvantaged areas by providing free quality part-time childcare for 2-3 year olds; an enhanced health visiting service; access to parenting programmes; and access to language and play sessions.

It is one of our top five pledges for a fairer future.

Further to this, last week the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) came into force, placing a duty on Welsh ministers to consider the rights of children in all the decisions they make about new legislation, policies and changes to existing policy.

The rights in the UNCRC are based on what a child needs to survive, participate and fulfil their potential and they apply equally to every child, regardless of where they are from.

Children must be protected from harm, must have services like schools and activities and places to play outside school, and they must be listened to when they're not happy with the choices that are made on their behalf.

In the past there have been criticisms that structures such as government policy do not make it clear how adults charged with making decisions on the behalf of children are making these decisions.

The UN convention means that if children do not feel their rights are being taken into account, the scheme gives them, or someone who can act on their behalf, the opportunity to challenge the Welsh Government.

There are different ways they can do this. There is already a complaints procedure in place and officials are looking to create some short and clear guidance to make this easier for children to use. Other methods include contacting your local Assembly Member, sending a petition to the National Assembly or even applying to a court to rule whether ministers have shown due regard.

We have invested in information, advice and advocacy services to make sure children are protected, able to participate fully in society and able to receive the support they need when they need it.

This includes Meic, the confidential, anonymous, bilingual Welsh children and young people's helpline, which is open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted by phone, email, text message and instant messaging. And there's also Funky Dragon, the children's assembly, or the Children's Commissioner who would be able to help children raise any concerns.

Wales is leading the way on children's rights and I am very proud to be involved in this historic development in my role as minister on the portfolio for children.

We hope that children in Wales will see that their government supports them and their right to be safe, to be heard and to have opportunities and positive experiences that will set them up for their adult lives.

The convention will underpin all the work done by the Welsh Government, to enhance the lives of children, young people and families.

We also believe strongly in the importance of play in children's lives and the benefits it gives to health, happiness and wellbeing. Wales is again taking the lead, this time on a global scale, by legislating for play opportunities for children.

Play is vital for children's development. Research tells us that play increases children's health, ability to make friends and understand the world around them. This benefits not just children, but also their families and communities.

A consultation is currently open on a Welsh measure that will place a duty on local authorities to assess the provision of play and recreational opportunities in their area. The assessments will be used to develop local authority action plans to improve play opportunities for all children living in Wales.

We hope to create an environment where children's presence playing outside in our communities is welcomed and celebrated, with safe places for them to play now and in years to come.

We should never take for granted the basic rights of children: to food, education, healthcare and a safe environment to develop and grow. I am proud to be involved in the extremely important work being done to make Wales a country that values children and supports them to get the best opportunities in life.

 

Rhannu

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Ebrill 2012
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