The Children and Young People’s Policy Framework
The new Children and Young People’s Policy Framework will build on the goals of Ireland’s first National Childrens Strategy Our Children - Their Lives, (2000-10) - that children will have a voice in matters which affect them, that their lives will be better understood and that they will receive quality supports and services to promote all aspects of their development.
The new policy framework will provide a seamless, whole-of-childhood approach to policy making. It is intended that it will be the overarching framework for the future development of policies and services that will improve children and young people’s outcomes.
The policy framework will focus on the key developmental periods for children and young people;
Prenatal, infancy, early childhood (0 to 6 years)
Middle childhood years (6-12 years)
Adolescence and early adulthood (12 plus years)
It will have a specific focus on the aspects of growth and development that are unique to each time period and the policies and services that are required at each stage to secure good outcomes for children and young people. Desirable outcomes, to do with children and young people being healthy, involved in learning, being safe, economically secure, part of positive networks and participating in society, will be central to the development of the new policy framework.
It will be the platform for three further detailed strategies – which will drive down into deeper detail in respect of actions relevant to early years, middle childhood and youth - to be developed by the Department over 2012 - 2013.
All three strategies will be developed through this single policy framework.
Children’s Consultation Process 2011
In October 2010, an Oversight Committee was established by the DCYA Citizen's Participation Unit to oversee a consultation process with children to inform the new Children & Young People’s Policy Framework, comprising the DCYA Research Unit, the Directors of the Second Level and Primary Principals Networks, the student council co-ordinator (second-level), second-level teachers, primary school teachers, children and young people from the DCYA Children and Young People’s Forum and other key stakeholders.
During the week Monday, 4th April – Friday, 8th April 2011, children and young people were invited to complete questionnaires, which were circulated to all Primary schools, second-level schools, hospital schools, special schools and Youthreach Centres throughout the county.
The questions for the consultation with primary school children were devised by children themselves through a consultation with seven to twelve year old children conducted by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The three questions for primary school children were:
What’s the best thing about being a child in Ireland?
What’s the worst thing about being a child in Ireland?
- What one thing would you change in Ireland for children to be happy?
The second level questions were devised by young people from a Children and Young People’s Forum organised by the Department. The three questions for second level young people were:
- What do you think is good about being a young person living in Ireland?
- What do you dislike about being a young person living in Ireland?
- If you were leader of the country, what one thing would you change for young people?
Check out the reports from the Consultation here:
- Life as a Child and Young Person in Ireland - Report of a National Consultation
- Life as a Child in Ireland
- An Saol Mar Leanbh in Éirinn
- Life as a Young Person in Ireland
- An Saol Dhuine Óg in Éirinn
Public Consultation - Improving the Lives of Children and Young People
A public consultation was launched by the Minister on 11 June, and ran to 6 July. Participants were offered the option of making a submission in respect of all children, or children in various age-cohorts. The questions asked included;
- What are the best things (and worst things) about life for children & young people in Ireland?
- What can be done so they are safe and protected?
- What can be done to help them enjoy learning?
- What can be done so they are healthy and active?
- What do they need to feel economically secure?
- How can they have a say in decisions that affect their lives?
- What can be done to help them behave positively and be good citizens?
- What can be done to help them move confidently into adulthood?
Over 1,000 submissions were received and are being analysed. This analysis will inform the Framework and the three age-cohort strategies.
Expert Advisory Group on Early Years Strategy
In 2012, Minister Fitzgerald appointed an Expert Advisory Group to advise on what should be included in the Early Years Strategy. The Group comprised:
ChairEilis Hennessy Department of Psychology, UCD
Catherine Byrne, Atlantic Philanthropies,
Fergus Finlay, Barnardos
Siobhan Feehan, HSE, Deansrath Family Centre
Irene Gunning, Early Childhood Ireland
Noirin Hayes, Dublin Institute of Technology
Fiona McDonnell, HSE Early Years Inspectorate
Roisin McGlone, Sligo Institute of Technology
Breda McKenna, Monaghan Child Care Committee
Patricia Murray, Childminding Ireland
Alf Nicholson, Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street
Gerry O’Connor, St. Ultan’s, Cherry Orchard
Patricia O’Dwyer, Public Health Nursing Consultant
Biddy O’Neill, HSE, Health Promotion
Kathryn O’Riordan, Cork City Child Care Committee
Toby Wolfe, Start Strong
Thomas Walsh, Department of Education and Skills.
The Report of the Group, entitled 'Right from the Start', was launched by the Minister on Thursday 10 October 2013.