Alliance welcomes decision to keep Department of Children

The Department of Children is staying on after speculation it would be axed.
Alliance welcomes decision to keep Department of Children
Children playing in a school yard. File image.
Children playing in a school yard. File image.

The Department of Children is staying on after speculation it would be axed.

It was announced yesterday that the Green Party’s Roderic O'Gorman will be Minister for Equality, Children, Integration and Disability.

The Children's Rights Alliance is welcoming the new Government's decision to keep it and give it an expanded remit.

The group says it shows that children and young people matter, as it's seeing a rise in child protection concerns.

Children's Rights Alliance Chief Executive, Tanya Ward says the expansion of the department will promote equality.

She said that by “expanding the brief of children and youth affairs to include equality, integration and disability” that “this should really give the department a chance to be really beefed up to have a bigger role in government.”

She said it has the chance “to actually work on a real brief that delivers equal chances for every child in the country.”

However, the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) have said they are “deeply concerned” that ‘Youth Affairs’ has omitted from the department’s name and that they hope it is an "administrative blip".

Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director said: “We congratulate Roderic O’Gorman, TD on his appointment and welcome the retention of the Department of Children with additional responsibilities in important areas.

“However, we are very concerned at initial indications from the Taoiseach's announcement that ‘Youth Affairs’ may be dropped from the name of the Department, and we are calling for this to be reversed.”

Ms Cunningham added: “The establishment of the Department for Children and Young Affairs (DCYA) in 2011 - and the appointment of the first-ever cabinet-level Minister - was a significant development.

“Several damning reports and inquiries had demonstrated that since the foundation of the State that the needs, concerns and voice of children and young people were too often forgotten and ignored in Government.

"The establishment of DCYA was a demonstration that the State valued children and young people and was at last willing to address their needs and concerns in a coordinated manner across Government.

“The removal of ‘youth affairs’ from the title of the new department reduces the visibility of young people at a time when it is vital that a clear focus on young people, their rights, welfare and well-being is sustained.

"We hope that the dropping of youth affairs from the title of the department is just an administrative blip and not a signal of the priority that the new government places on young people and their futures.”

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