The Measure underpins the Assembly Government’s strategy which will support the UK Government’s target of eradicating child poverty by 2020. It recognises that children and families in poverty often face multiple disadvantage which requires highly specialist and intensive support. It will also strengthen regulatory enforcement in childcare settings.
Minister for Social Justice and Local Government Dr Brian Gibbons said
“I hope that this Measure will mobilise all public agencies in Wales in the task of working towards eradicating the causes and effects of child poverty. The Measure also provides a new legal framework to deliver better support to those children and their families who face particularly complex and difficult problems.
"Our success at addressing these problems will be an indication of our commitment to social justice and fairness to citizens across the whole of Wales. All contribute to making Wales a more prosperous, sustainable and fairer country with all citizens entitled to share fairly from the benefit that flow from this.
"This Measure means that for the first time ever, Wales will have a coherent and joined up framework to harness action on child poverty across public agencies.”
The Measure has three substantive parts. The first part, Child Poverty, Play and Participation, will require Welsh Authorities and Welsh Ministers to prepare a strategy for contributing to the eradication of child poverty in Wales and will build on the foundations laid by programmes such as Flying Start and Cymorth. We also know that to make faster progress on child poverty we need to galvanise and draw on the expertise and experience of a wide range of public bodies in Wales.
Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills Jane Hutt said
"Tackling child poverty on an all Wales basis and strengthening support to families is at the heart of this Measure. All of our children and young people deserve the opportunity to be lifted out of poverty and disadvantage, and to have opportunities to play, learn, grow, and participate and to believe in themselves.”
Part 2 of the Measure, Child Minding and Day Care for Children, takes the opportunity to use powers devolved under the Government of Wales Act 2006 to consolidate and improve existing child minding and day care legislation for Wales, making the law in these areas more accessible and easier to understand.
Part 3 strengthens the support to vulnerable children and families with complex needs by establishing Integrated Family Support Teams (IFST) across Wales. The teams will bring together social workers, family workers, substance misuse professionals, nurses and health visitors – to work directly with families to protect and support vulnerable children.
Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas said:
“The IFS teams will be unique to Wales. They will help identify problem families earlier and work intensively with families to make the necessary lifestyle changes in order to keep a child or children at home.
“The new assessment and referral duties on local government and the NHS will link together child and adult health and social care services so that all practitioners Think Family. This will strengthen operational practices that safeguard children and young people.”
10 November 2009