Care Matters in Northern Ireland

In 2006, The Executive Office published a ten year strategy for children and young people,

Our Children and Young People - Our Pledge

The ten year strategy seeks to achieve the following outcomes for all children and young people:

  • being healthy
  • learning and achieving
  • living in safety and with stability
  • experience economic and environmental wellbeing
  • contributing positively to community and society
  • living in a society which respects their rights

The Strategy identifies that not all children have an equal start life and that targeted support should be available to particular groups to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It proposes a "whole child" approach to ensure support in each of these key areas.

In line with this principle, DoH, in conjunction with other Government Departments and voluntary sector partners, sought to develop a comprehensive strategy to better enable care-experienced young people to achieve their potential and deliver improvements in their health, educational, social and economic outcomes.

Care Matters in Northern Ireland - a Bridge to a Better Future

Care Matters in Northern Ireland outlines a strategic vision for wide ranging improvements in services to children and young people in and on the edge of care. It seeks to increase support for vulnerable children and improve outcomes for care-experienced young people, by:

  • increasing preventative services and support to help vulnerable families stay together
  • improving the range, quality and stability of placement options for children who cannot live at home
  • ensuring that Health and Social Care Trusts have the necessary arrangements in place to act as effective corporate parents for children in care
  • improving educational opportunities for children in care;
  • providing children in care with opportunities to take part in activities outside school and care
  • strengthening support to young people leaving care as they make the transition to adulthood

Care Matters in Northern Ireland - Consultation

Care Matters in Northern Ireland (PDF 954KB) was launched for consultation in March 2007 at a LACE (Looked After Children in Education) seminar.  At the launch, the Minister said:

"Children who are unable to live with their families are some of the most vulnerable in society. They are entitled to a normal life like everyone else in society, yet children in care often face uncertain futures. Care Matters seeks to remove these uncertainties, build a bridge to the future and ensure that children in care can look ahead with the same confidence as other children do in terms of their health, their education and employment opportunities."

A Young People's Guide to Care Matters and Your Guide to Care Matters in Northern Ireland - a Bridge to a Better Future - Response Form were issued in June 2007 at a consultation event for care experienced children and young people jointly hosted by DHSSPS and the Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC).  The consultation period closed on 3rd September 2007.

Care Matters in Northern Ireland - Executive Endorsement

Care Matters in Northern Ireland was fully endorsed by the Northern Ireland Executive in September 2009. The Executive was asked to recognise the State's unique responsibilities to this vulnerable group of children and young people and acknowledge that it is incumbent on all Departments and agencies to co-operate and take action to improve the life experiences of these young people. At the same meeting, the Executive agreed to the publication of the Care Matters in Northern Ireland Consultation Summary Report

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