New Office Of The Minister For Children
& Youth Justice Service
Welcomed by NYCI
Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Cormac Devlin has welcomed the Government's decision to set-up a dedicated Office of the Minister for Children. Equally the National Youth Council of Ireland broadly welcomed the statement:
The National Youth Council of Ireland warmly welcomed the announcement in December of a new Office of the Minister for Children.
Whilst the details of its role and functions have still to be finalised, we now know that the Office will be within the Department of Health and Children and will include the former National Children’s Office, the Childcare Directorate from within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, which includes the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme, the Department of Health’s Child Care Policy Unit and the Department of Education’s new Early Years Education Policy Unit and the newly established Youth Justice Service.
The Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan, will have a remit for children, under 18, across all three government departments, and whilst he will not have a vote at Cabinet, he will attend Cabinet meetings and will have the opportunity to bring issues relating to children and young people to that table.
This is an historic policy. It is the first ever serious attempt at joined up government in Ireland. And for those of us who have lobbied for years to try to get children and young people’s issues to the very heart of government this is a very exciting development.
The newly appointed Director General, Sylda Langford, a well known champion of children, said at a recent NYCI meeting, ‘The OMC has been set up to facilitate close co-operation and co-ordination of policy across the three departments involved, the process is developmental but the world is our oyster’. Going on to outline how she sees the office working, she stated, ‘the success measure of the OMC will be its ability to deliver better outcomes for children and young people, if it doesn’t do that it will have failed!’ In acknowledging the important role the Youth Sector has in the lives of young people, she concluded that she hoped to build strong links with the sector.
In announcing the establishment of the Office of the Minister for Children during his budget speech, the Taoiseach stated that this was a major step forward in ‘terms of a more effective and joined up approach to a critical area of public policy’.
As the Minister for Children said at the launch of the new office ‘This is the start of a new strategic approach for children.’ NYCI needs to ensure that the youth sector is part of that new approach and is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to the lives of tens of thousands of young people.
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