National policy on children and young people
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established in 2011 and brings together a number of key areas of policy and provision for children, young people and families. It focuses on policy issues that affect children in areas such as early childhood care and education, youth justice, child welfare and protection, children and young people's participation, research on children and young people and youth work. It has developed a national policy framework for children and young people. A national strategy on participation in decision-making and a youth strategy were developed to develop on specific parts of the national policy framework.
National Policy Framework
In April 2014 the Department of Children and Youth Affairs published Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014–2020 (pdf). It is the first national policy framework for children and young people aged from birth to 24 years. It establishes a shared set of outcomes for children and young people towards which all government departments, agencies, statutory services and the voluntary and community sectors work. These outcomes are to:
- Be active and healthy, with positive physical and mental wellbeing
- Achieve their full potential in all areas of learning and development
- Be safe and protected from harm
- Have economic security and opportunity
- Be connected, respected and contributing to their world
It provides the framework for the development and implementation of policy and services for children and young people.
National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives
The National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives 2011–2016 (pdf) recognises that good information is essential in helping us understand both how children and young people are developing and how policies and services impact on their lives. The strategy sets out a plan for research and data on children’s lives in Ireland over the period 2011–2016 and after that.
National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-making
In June 2015 the National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-making (2015–2020) was launched. It identifies the following objectives and priority areas for action:
- Children and young people will have a voice in decisions made in their local communities
- Children and young people will have a voice in decision-making in early education, schools and the wider formal and non-formal education systems
- Children and young people will have a voice in decisions that affect their health and well-being, including on the health and social services delivered to them
- Children and young people will have a voice in the Courts and legal system
- Promoting effective leadership to champion and promote participation of children and young people
- Development of education and training for professionals working with and on behalf of children and young people
- Mainstreaming the participation of children and young people in the development of policy, legislation and research
National Youth Strategy 2015–2020
In October 2015 the Department of Children and Youth Affairs published the National Youth Strategy 2015–2020 (pdf) which builds on the National Policy Framework – Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. It sets out the Government’s aim and objectives for young people, aged 10 to 24 years, so that they can achieve the outcomes set out in the policy framework.
Children and Young People’s Services Committees
All major organisations and agencies working locally on behalf of children
and young people are represented on Children and Young People’s Services
Committees (CYPSC). The CYPSCs are responsible for improving the lives of
children and families at local and community level, through integrated
planning, working and service delivery. They ensure that professionals and
agencies work together so that children and families receive services that are
better and more accessible. There is more information on the CYPSC website.