02/11/2005

Minister committed to tackling issues facing children

NIO Minister Jeff Rooker has committed himself to championing the causes of children and young people throughout Northern Ireland.

Speaking following round table talks with the major local political parties and a meeting with representatives of over 60 children's organisations, the Minister said it was essential that he get a real understanding of the key issues that affect children and young people's lives.

"By engaging with the political parties and children's organisations I have been able to hear first hand the key issues impacting on the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland," the Minister said.

"I have heard views on a wide range of topics including child protection, preventative services, issues relevant to health and education, children with specific needs, rights and equality, service planning and delivery issues, poverty and the participation of children in decision making. I will be examining carefully all the issues raised by both groups and considering any necessary further action."

The Minister said that he would ensure that issues relevant to the work of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Children & Young People would be tabled for discussion at the next meeting of the Committee in January.

He also stressed that many of the issues raised will be dealt with through the implementation of the 10-year strategy for children and young people which will be launched in early 2006.

(MB/SP)

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