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 9 May 2018 to 4 July 2018 and DoH and DE would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to contribute via the following link at nidirect consultations or the DoH website.
Alternatively, printed copies of the Consultation document can be obtained by telephoning or writing to:
Department of Health
Family and Children’s Policy Directorate
Department of Education
Pupil Support Team
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
Available dates are:
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.
Notes to editors:
1. The 2016 OECD Public Governance Review highlighted the need for joint working between DoH and DE in a policy area where success depends on a coherent and integrated strategy, shared objectives and a co-ordinated approach.
2. DE and DoH agreed in November 2016 to develop a joint Looked After Children Strategy, and since then officials have been working on its development including extensive stakeholder engagement.
3. This work directly contributes to a number of outcomes in the draft Programme for Government including Indicators to improve support for looked after children, to improve educational outcomes, to reduce educational inequality and to improve the skills profile of the population.
4. Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0579 or email email@example.com or Department of Education Press Office on 028 9127 9268.
Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 97438 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.