Assembly Told To Improve Children’s Lives

Politicians should develop a new child-friendly programme for government if the Assembly is restored. That is the call from Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI), the regional umbrella body for the children’s sector.

Launching its election manifesto, the organisation called on the Assembly to get back to business and deliver on its previous commitments to improving the life prospects of children and young people.

Representing over 100 member organisations across the children’s voluntary and statutory sectors, Pauline Leeson, director of CiNI, said: “We urgently call on the new Assembly to develop a new child-friendly programme for government and give fresh and renewed impetus to following through and delivering on pressing policy priorities for children and young people.

“It is crucial that the now imminent 10-year Children and Young People’s Strategy Action Plan takes fundamental steps to redress those areas where the most vulnerable and marginalised children and young people find their rights as children being seriously violated.

“A major challenge for the new Assembly will be to invest more in early intervention and preventative support services for families under stress so that these very vulnerable families are not forced to rely on over-stretched and under-resourced specialist services.”

Ms Leeson urged all parties to be proactive in taking forward a requirement on all government, statutory and voluntary sector agencies to work together to plan and commission holistic services at a regional level.

“Only through working together for children and young people can we eradicate the current ‘postcode lottery’ in service provision,” she said.