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The NCO Children/Young People's Forum

The NCO Children/Young People's Forum was established in 2004 by the NCO, to advise NCO on issues of concern to young people within the context of the National Children's Strategy.

The first meeting of the NCO Children/Young People's Forum took place on 27 November in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin. Nineteen young people attended from 11 different CDB areas they were very enthusiastic about the Forum. The participants on the day took time to introduce themselves to each other and to think about the value of participating. They also looked at the potential of the Forum and what are the things that will help it to work well and what might prove difficult.

The purpose of the forum is to provide advice to the National Children's Office and the Minister for Children. The Forum has nominated four representatives to the National Children's Advisory Council. Some of the tasks which the Forum has undertaken include selecting an evaluator to monitor the development of the Forum, developing a youth section on the NCO website and investigate the possibility of developing a child/youth magazine, focusing on issues of concern to children and young people in Ireland.

The CDB areas that are represented to date include the following: Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin City, Louth, South County Dublin, Roscommon, Monaghan, North Tipperary, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Westmeath. It is hoped that all CDB areas will nominate representatives to the Forum over the next few months, as this will ensure that all areas of the country have a voice at the table. It is envisaged that the Forum will eventually be made up of approximately 40 young people in the 9-17 years age group. The young people will be drawn from all parts of the country through the Comhairle na nÓg structure. Six places will be reserved to ensure that the Forum is representative of all young people.

It is envisaged that the Children/Young People's Forum will meet a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 times a year.

On 11-13 March 2005, The CYPF had a residential meeting in Birr Outdoor Education Centre, Co. Offaly. This provided an opportunity for the members to get to know each other better. As well as a very full schedule of work, there was time for games, canoeing and wall climbing!

At their meeting in July, the CYPF completed a response form the National Consultation on Recreation.

The CYPF was invited to attend the Programme of Action for Children Annual Conference in Sligo in October. 19 members of the CYPF attended on the 12, 13 and 14 October. Four members of the CYPF gave a presentation on their work to the conference.

The next meeting of the CYPF will take place on 26 November in the National Children's Office.

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