Children, Young People & Families…
In Neath Port Talbot it is hoped that children and young people will be healthy, confident, active individuals
who achieve their potential within a safe home and community that is free from poverty, abuse and exploitation.
Neath Port Talbot CVS works in Partnership with a range of organisations from different sectors
to improve the quality of life for children, young people and families in our communities.
Neath Port Talbot Children & Young People’s Voluntary Sector Forum…
The aim of Neath Port Talbot Voluntary Sector Children and Young People’s Forum is to establish a dialogue between Voluntary Organisations, so that their needs and concerns can be accurately reflected within the planning process.
NSPCC Launch “Take 5” Positive Parenting Campaign
Last week, the NSPCC launched their positive parenting campaign, “Take 5”, designed to provide hints and tips to help parents keep their cool in challenging parenting situations.
The campaign aims to promote ways to react calmly when children are misbehaving, rather than reacting angrily by Taking 5: stop – breathe – and react calmly.
The tips focus on why children misbehave, how to set and maintain clear rules, the importance of showing affection and reminding parents that they need to look after themselves too
Read more about the advice on the NSPCC website.
‘Pokemon Go’ Safety Guidelines for Parents
Pokemon Go seems to have become an overnight sensation of late. The NSPCC have created some guidelines for its safe use.
Read the guidelines here.
NSPCC Research – Sexting
NSPCC has produced a guide to assist parents talk with children about the dangers and legalities surrounding sexting, empowering them to say no to requests.
Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages via their phone or over the internet.
There are many reasons why young people may do this, for example exploring sexual feelings or joining in with others doing it. However, possessing an explicit picture of a child is illegal.
Find out more here.
14 % rise in Self-harm hospital admissions
NSPCC data shows 18,778 children aged 11 to 18 were admitted to hospital for self-harm in 2015/16 this is compared to 16,416 in 2013/14 and represents a 14% rise.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: ‘A frightening number of children and teenagers are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with unresolved feelings, tensions and distress in their lives.
Figures from Childline, run by the NSPCC, showed it delivered 18,471 counselling sessions about self-harm last year which is equivalent to 50 per day.
Read more here.
NSPCC How Safe are our Children?
NCPCC have published their annual report giving and overview of child protection in the UK, called ‘How safe are our children?’
The report uses 20 indicators to compile and analyse the child protection data for the four nations in the UK for 2017. It also makes comparisons with historical data in order to track progress over time.
The indicators used include contacts with the NSPCC helpline, counselling sessions with Childline, online harm, referrals to social services, children in the child protection system, public attitudes to child abuse and neglect and proportion of looked after children who have three or more placements during the year, among others.
Key findings were an increase in emotional abuse as a reason children were on protections plans or registers, and increasing numbers of contacts to the NSPCC helpline and an increase in the public reporting of child abuse.
The full report can be accessed through the NSPCC website, here.
Children in Wales…
A year of change – The Children’s Commissioner for Wales: Annual Report 2016-17
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has published her annual report for the last year.
The report details how the Commissioner has delivered on commitments under the headings of provision, protection, participation and promotion
It also makes recommendations to Welsh Government based on the work carried out.
These include ensuring that that children of non-working families are not excluded from early education and childcare by schemes such as the Chidlcare Offer; using all available levers to alleviate poverty; and creating a register of home-schooled children to make sure they don’t fall ‘off the radar’ and miss out on the education they need.
You can download a copy of the full report at https://www.childcomwales.org.uk/publications/
Child Poverty Action Group: The Cost of a Child in 2017
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have published their report, The Cost of a Child in 2017, the sixth in the series of reports that tracks the minimum cost of raising a child.
The report basis its calculation on the Minimum Income Standard, which tells us what members of the public think are the essential items that every family should be able to afford.
Inflation and a freeze to the benefits that families can receive are making it harder for families to meet the rising cost of children, the report says.
The basic cost of a child from birth, to age 18, excluding housing, childcare and council tax, is £75,436 for a couple family and £102,627 for a lone-parent family. Including those costs, it rises to £155,142 and £187,120 respectively.
Another key finding was that “The cost of raising children is rising but, for the first time in decades, support for families is not keeping pace.”
To read the report in full or other key findings, please visit the Child Poverty Action Group.
The Knowledge Gap: Safeguarding missing children in Wales (English and Welsh reports)
The Children’s Society has published a report in the differences between safeguarding practices and procedures for missing children in England and Wales.
The report looks at how important information is shared between agencies, how children are enabled to share their experiences, and the tools available to help keep children safe.
Key findings included that less children in care went missing once than children missing from home, but more children in care had five or more missing episodes. It also noted, children in Wales were less likely to receive a debrief than children in England, because of differences in who receives a debrief is decided.
Key recommendations of the report included that debriefs become a statutory requirement across Wales, and that the UK Government, National Police Chiefs Council and stakeholders work together to ensure that the new National Missing Persons Database meets the needs of all safeguarding agencies.
To read the report in full, in both Welsh and English, please see the Children’s Society’s website.
Proposal for new rules to help keep rural schools open
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams announced rules to ensure that the process of closing rural schools gives greater consideration to alternatives, creating a presumption against rural school closure.
The proposed changes to the Schools Organisation Code, would firstly create a list of rural schools, for which these proposals would apply.
The changes will ensure that before closing a rural school, a specific reason must be supplied, all alternatives, including Federation and those that arise through consultation, are considered. The effect on the local community must be considered and the community must be made aware of the consultation.
To read more about the proposals and the Cabinet Secretary’s statement on the matter, please visit the Welsh Government website.
The new proposals are currently out for consultation as part of a wider consultation on the Schools Organisation Code. To respond to the consultation and to read the accompanying documents, please visit the consultation website here.
The consultation closes on 30 September 2017.
Welsh Government responds to report on refugees and asylum seekers in Wales
The Welsh Government has issued a written response to ‘I used to be someone’: Refugees and asylum seekers in Wales, a report published by the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.
The inquiry looked at the effectiveness of Welsh Government’s delivery of services to aid refugees to settle and play a full part in our communities. The report found examples of good practice throughout Wales, but that more could be done to help delivery partners. The report made 19 recommendations to address those areas.
The Welsh Government published their written response to the report and the recommendations on 14 June 2017. The response restates the Welsh Government’s commitment to helping refugees and asylum seekers fulfil their potential in Wales and also states whether or not the Welsh Government accepts or rejects the recommendations made by the Committee.
Children in Wales welcomes the Welsh Government’s response to the ELGC Committee’s Report noting that 18 of the 19 Recommendations were either accepted in full or at least in principle. Sean O’Neill, Policy Director said ‘The Committee’s inquiry identified a considerable number of barriers and challenges faced by refugee and asylum seekers as some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The Welsh Governments commitment to build upon its history of providing sanctuary for vulnerable children and families is to be commended, and we look forward to working with officials and our members to help ensure that all children coming to Wales remain safe and are properly supported to reach their full potential’.
The original report from the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee can be read here, while the Welsh Government’s response to the report can be read here. The report is due to be debated in Plenary on Wednesday 21 June 2017.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children announces Children First
Carl Sargeant AM, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, has announced Children First, a new approach to tackling inequality and meeting the needs of children and young people.
The approach focuses on local communities and organisations working collaboratively around a specific place. The Cabinet Secretary expects an anchor organisation in each area to bring the organisations together, develop a strategic focus and determine the outcomes that they want to achieve. When they begin, they will also determine how they intend to evaluate the progress towards their outcomes.
The Cabinet Secretary has said that he expects the rights of children and young people to be central to the approach and for preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and mitigating their impact to be a priority.
Five organisations have been chosen to act as pioneers, out of nineteen who expressed interest in the project. These organisations will pioneer the process in Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Cwm Taf, Gwynedd and Newport.
Improvement in GCSE Results for Children in Care
The most recent figures show that 23% looked after children have achieved the equivalent of five good grade GCSEs in English or Welsh and in maths in 2016, a 17% rise from 2015.
The figures come from a report on the progress of the Welsh Government’s plan to improve ambitions and educational attainment of children in care. The number of pupils achieving A*- C results in English or first language Welsh and maths increased as above between 2016 and 2015, but also doubled from 2011. The report said that the gap with teenagers as a whole was still unacceptable. The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, pledged further support for children in care noting that “Looked after children must have the same opportunities as their peers.”
Children in Wales welcomed the progress made and the further commitment to closing the gap, with Sean O’Neill, Policy Director saying “There appears to be good progress being made in increasing the attainment level of looked after children in Wales, with today’s figures undoubtedly very welcome. We look forward to further progress being made and that all barriers are lifted to ensure that all children reach their full potential”.
Latest categorisation figures show improvements in Welsh schools
The National Categorisation System, published today, was introduced in 2014 to identify schools that require support in order to improve. Schools are rated and placed in one of four colour coded support categories, based on their need. Schools are judged on a range of categories including performance data and capacity to improve in the areas of leadership, teaching and learning. The latest results from show that, when compared with the previous year, fewer schools are being placed in the highest support needs category.
Visit the Welsh Government website to find out more.
The State of Child Health
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have published a report on the health of children in the UK.
The report brings together for the first time data on 25 measures of child health including specific conditions such as asthma and diabetes, risk factors such as obesity and low rate of breast-feeding, and data on child deaths.
The report finds that nearly one in five children in the UK is living in poverty and that inequality is a major factor in their health, with those from deprived backgrounds experiencing worse health than those from affluent backgrounds.
You can download the Wales-specific recommendations here.
Cabinet Secretary for Children announces £7.8m to prevent homelessness
The Cabinet Secretary for Children, Carl Sargeant AM, has announced a £7.8m grant to fund the Homeless Prevention Programme for 2017/18.
The grant will support third sector organisations and local authorities to deliver frontline services with the aim of preventing homelessness.
Read more here.
AGENDA: A Young People’s Guide to Making Positive Relationships Matter
AGENDA: A Young People’s Guide to Making Positive Relationships Matter, is an online tool-kit produced with young people for young people. It aims to support young people to safely and creatively raise awareness of gender inequalities, sexual harassment and violence in schools and communities. Agenda showcases examples of the work young people are already doing in order to inspire and support others to speak out about what matters to them. It includes a wide range of activities and resources. Issues covered include: addressing gender discrimination, consent, LGBT+ rights, bullying, street harassment, FGM, sexual exploitation, relationship violence and many more.
AGENDA is available in English and Welsh. The guide and supporting resources are free to download at www.agenda.wales.
Maths Tips for Parents
New learning materials have been developed to help parents get more involved in their children’s maths homework.
Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams AM, has launched the new materials, developed with three Welsh numeracy experts, with the aim of making helping children with homework less stressful for parents and carers. Booklets and videos are published online, which include different types of calculations, appropriate for different age groups, and demonstrate how best to help with each calculation.
Visit the Children in Wales website to find out more.
Children in Wales, in partnership with Public Health Wales, has developed a new child safety toolkit for 2017
Aimed at reducing unintentional injuries in the under 5′s, this exciting new toolkit provides your organisation and practitioners with all of the resources needed to deliver a whole year of child safety information and advice to parents.
The toolkit includes attractive, printed calendars for your parents and a USB stick for your organisation. The USB resource is divided into months, with each month directly supporting the calendar messages parents will see on a daily basis. For each month there is a team briefing, a step-by-step interactive group session plan, handouts, poster downloads, twitter feeds, text messages and face book uploads.
Issues addressed in the toolkit include nicotine poisoning, falls, scalds, blind cords and nappy sacks. Everything has been developed for you, from the group delivery session plans to the ready to use text for your social media and everything is available in Welsh and English.
The Keep Kids Safe toolkit was developed to address the needs of practitioners, who stated; “We know we should do something, but we haven’t got the time to develop anything and we’re not sure what to do or how to address it. We need something we can pick up and run with”.
It’s not just practitioners who have had their say, parents have also played a huge role in the development of the resources. They have advised on details such as calendar images, language used, the practical advice they need and also how they want practitioners to support them.
Whether you are new to child safety or are already addressing the issues, the easy to use format of this toolkit provides a structured, informed approach to unintentional injury prevention.
The Keep Kids Safe toolkit launched on 9 November 2016.
For more information, please visit: http://www.childreninwales.org.uk/our-work/accident-prevention/keep-kids-safe-2017/
Almost one in five of children under five in Wales have poor oral hygiene
Too many children under the age of five have poor oral hygiene, according to a survey published by charity Action for Children.
The polling of 2,000 parents across the UK (115 in Wales) found that 19% children under five in Wales brush their teeth just once a day or less frequently, even though baby teeth, much like adult teeth, need brushing twice a day – in the morning and just before bed.
Almost a quarter of Welsh parents (24 per cent) also said that they only sometimes supervise their children aged five or under to brush their teeth, despite the fact that NHS guidelines advise parents to supervise their children while brushing their teeth up until the age of seven. Lack of supervision to ensure children are brushing effectively twice a day, can lead to a lifetime of poor oral health.
For tips on how to get children into a brushing routine visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk.
Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021
The Welsh Government has published its Programme for Government for the next five years.
Taking Wales Forward sets out the government’s programme to drive forward improvement in Wales.
The document outlines the government’s key priorities for delivering improvements and building a united, connected and sustainable Wales. The next five years is critical as the UK withdraws from the European Union and all the challenges and uncertainty this presents.
The Government’s key priorities for Wales are to be:
- Prosperous and Secure
- Healthy and Active
- Ambitious and Learning
- United and Connected
- Shared Challenges and Opportunities
- Driving Forward Delivery
Click here to find out more.
Child and Family Poverty in Wales survey 2016
For the past two years, Children in Wales has published a report, Child and Family Poverty in Wales: A snapshot of key issues raised by families (2014) (2015). We are repeating the survey for 2016 to give us an up to date picture of poverty in Wales and to identify trends over the three year period. Government figures published in June 2016 show that 29% of all children in Wales are living in poverty. Children are said to be living in poverty if they live in families with an income below 60% of the median income.
We are keen to hear from you to help us understand what the main poverty related issues currently facing children and families in Wales are today and how much this has changed over the past year. We are interested to hear about ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ changes, or where there has been little or no change.
Click here to find out more.
Children in Wales Events…
05/12/17: An Introduction to Self-Harm and Suicide – Cardiff.
06/12/17: Early Years Conference 2017 – Cardiff.
07/12/17: Supporting Parents to Talk to their Children about Growing up, Relationships and Sex – Cardiff.
11/12/17: Working Positively with Autistic Children in the Early Years – Cardiff.
11/01/18: Introduction to Mindfulness – Cardiff.
12 & 13/12/17: Motivational Interviewing – Cardiff.
9 & 10/01/18: Keeping Our Children Safe – Training For Designated Person For Child Protection – Cardiff.
11/01/18: Introduction to Mindfulness – Cardiff.
15/01/18: Youth Homelessness: All I want is a Roof Over my Head – Cardiff.
17/01/17: Reducing Accidents in Early Years Childcare Settings – Aberystwyth.
17/01/17: Understanding and Responding to Bullying Behaviours – Cardiff.
18/01/18: Supporting Young Carers: Who cares for the carers? – Carmarthen.
18/01/18: Poverty Awareness – Cardiff.
Planning a route to improved well-being for young people leaving care
Today (22 November) Barnardo’s Cymru is launching a brief calling on Welsh Government to produce a strategy to support the wellbeing of looked after young people aged 11-25, on their journey into adulthood: Time for Change – Planning a route to improved well-being for young people leaving care.
Based on Barnardo’s experience as a provider of fostering services, leaving care services and their broader experience of supporting vulnerable young people, they suggest three areas of practice which they think should be brought together under one strategic approach to support adolescents and young people.
Barnardos believe that it would be possible to improve outcomes for care leavers through a strategy that starts early, at age 11, and addresses the quality and range of support in order to respond to the specific needs of adolescents and young people.
If you are interested in discussing further please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Barnardos would also welcome your views on Twitter #TeenWellbeing.
Sexually exploited boys and young men
Barnardo’s Cymru has published research into the need for support services for sexually exploited boys and young men in Wales.
The aim of the report is to increase the understanding of child sexual exploitation, relating to boys and young men, and provides recommendations to improve their engagement in child sexual exploitation (CSE) prevention and intervention services. Key findings from the report include:
- Negative experiences of care and family life can create vulnerabilities and lead to a higher risk of sexual exploitation
- Professionals are concerned that there is more complacency around teenage boys that go missing, compared with missing girls, which explains discrepancies in reporting patterns
- Boys’ routes into sexual exploitation are complicated and difficult to identify
Find out more here.
Barnardo’s announces coming campaign to change compensation guidelines for sexually abused children
Barnardo’s is part of a group of charities, (also including Victim Support, Liberty, Rape Crisis and the National Working Group) that have written to the Justice Secretary, David Lidington, calling for an urgent review of the rules that govern criminal injury compensation.
Under the current guidelines of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS), child victims of abuse, some as young as 12, have been told that they are ineligible for compensation because they complied with their abuse.
A Freedom Of Information request by the charities showed that since November 2012, nearly 700 victims had been refused payments.
The group is calling for the rules to be changed so that no child who has been abused can be denied compensation on the grounds that they ‘consented’ to their abuse.
To read more about Barnardo’s campaign, please visit their website, here.
Play in the media…
A number of play, playwork and children’s rights related articles have appeared in the media. Here is a small selection – for links to other articles please visit the News section of our website:
- Five obstacles to children’s play and how to overcome them (Wales Online – Mark Smith)
- The Secret Power of Play (Time – Siobhan O’Connor)
- Children’s mental health: It’s time to put wellbeing on the curriculum (The Guardian – Andy Cope)
- How residents are opening up the city for children to play (Child in the City – Alice Ferguson)
- Is Calgary ready for child-friendly urban planning? (Rethinking Childhood – Tim Gill)
Study finds physical activity outside of school is vital for child health (University of Bristol)
In August 2016, the Welsh Government launched the #talkchildcare campaign to gather the views of parents and childcare providers on the new childcare offer currently being piloted in counties across Wales. The feedback and responses gathered have since been considered by the government and is now reflected in the key messages on their web pages.
In 1998, Gordon Sturrock and Perry Else Introduced the Play Cycle in ‘The playground as therapeutic space: playwork as healing’ paper at the IPA International Play Conference in Colorado, Canada. A study is now being conducted by Swansea University to understand the effect of the Play Cycle on playwork theory. To take part, you need to be over 18 and currently working in the playwork sector.
Every Child Wales programme launched to help parents…
The Public Health Wales programme, Every Child Wales, aims to help parents give children the best possible start in life. The programme includes ten common sense steps to support parents to ensure their children are a healthy weight. One thing that contributes to a healthy weight is the right amount of physical activity and children who can walk on their own should be active for three hours every day.
This can be spread across the whole day and Step 6 of the programme advises us to give our children chances to play outdoors every day. Children start their active lives through play. Active play is one of the easiest and most natural ways that children of any age can reach the necessary levels of physical activity. When given the opportunity to play children are likely to be physically active by running, jumping, dancing, climbing, digging, lifting, pushing and pulling.
Children’s play is determined by the opportunities parents and carers give them. Playing together is a great way to spend time as a family and help develop children’s confidence and communication skills. It can also help parents and other family members stay active too! If your child is in childcare or school, you can ask how often children play outdoors and advocate that all children, particularly younger ones, have the chance to play outdoors, often and everyday.
Active play, especially outdoors, helps our child develop physically, mentally and emotionally. It helps children develop strong bones and muscles, improves their skills and coordination, and makes them feel better about themselves. It can even help them sleep better (which is Step 9). And, when children are playing (especially outdoors), it is easier to limit the time they spend on screens and devices (that’s Step 7 by the way!).
According to the experts, given the choice children still prefer to play outdoors and value the independence and opportunities for discovery that it offers.
When children have a range of things to do and places to play, it is easier for parents to strike a balance and children are better able to self-manage their use of digital technology and devices. We can limit our own screen use, and model good and moderate online and device use, especially when children are nearby.
Everyone’s neighbourhood is different, but wherever people live there’s sure to be a ‘playable’ space nearby. Where there are not designated play areas or parks, there are often other open spaces that can be used for playing. Children, particularly younger ones, often see play value in the simplest of things – puddles, worms, sticks and walking on walls.
Characteristics of good spaces for play include opportunities for wonder, excitement and the unexpected.
Parents and carers are subject to powerful and sometimes differing messages about keeping children safe. However, this should not result in a child not being allowed access to outdoor play. The benefits of playing outdoors greatly outweigh any risks. Try not to look for the smallest and most unlikely possibility of getting hurt in every activity. A long chain of ‘what ifs’ is unlikely to happen.
Try to use a careful, but positive approach. We know our own children better than anyone else – observe their activity. Most children will not put themselves in real risk of serious harm. It is our job to help them learn to make decisions about risk and hazards for themselves and this starts when they are young. By doing this, we are better preparing them to make good and confident choices when the time comes for them to play out and about in their own community.
Indeed, and to support children’s play it’s less about what you do and more about the way you do it. Children need permission, time, space and materials to get the most from playing. Hopefully, you’ll find our Playful parenting, tips handy, useful and fun!
Play Wales welcomes recognition of children’s play in new public health programme
While the benefits of how playing improves general physical health are recognised (Start Active, Stay Active 2011), it has been overlooked by mainstream health policy. Active play is one of the easiest and most natural ways that children of any age can engage in the necessary levels of physical activity. Studies show that the long-term health benefits of playing include boosting physical activity levels which helps to tackle child obesity, and supporting children to become more resilient.
Most people are aware of the growing obesity problem in Wales. However, the cost to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children is also high. The A Good Childhood Inquiry (2009) found that our children are suffering an ‘epidemic of mental illness, with significant increases between 1974 and 1999 in the number of children suffering from conduct, behavioural and emotional problems’.
The National Trust’s Natural Childhood (2012) report suggests that ‘greater physical activity promotes better mental health, and a sedentary childhood leads to more mental health problems’. The idea that exercise can have positive effects on treating people with mental health issues is widely accepted, for example the Mental Health Foundation’s Up and Running publication (2005) shows the link between exercise and its impact on treating depression.
Public Health Wales’ new programme, Every Child Wales, to help parents give young children the best possible start in life, brings together lots of information and advice to support parents in giving children a happy and healthy start in life. The programme, which includes ten steps to support parents to ensure their children are a healthy weight, advises that children should play outdoors every day.
The latest issue of our new Focus on Play publication provides information to support public health professionals to consider the role they hold in supporting better opportunities for children to play in their own communities. Children and young people need and are entitled to quality places and time for play as part of their everyday life within their own community.
Accessing places for play and recreation must be easy. Action is needed to ensure that all children have access to local spaces for play and recreation. Open spaces need to be protected and promoted as good and acceptable places to play and access to them must be better.
Children’s ability to play outdoors locally should to be promoted. Residential roads should be reclaimed for play. It should be easier for communities to close their streets for street play sessions (through, for example, changes to the Road Traffic Regulation Act (1984) and removing the requirement for parents to take out expensive local advertising to inform people about temporary street closures for play). Government at all levels should join the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE 2008) in actively promoting urban design that gets children more active, by better enabling them to travel independently and play out on their local streets and neighbourhoods.
Efforts to improve physical activity and wellbeing in schools should focus on more than just sport and physical education. A Welsh Government report on Schools and Physical Activity failed to reference the broad definition of physical activity and rather made a single recommendation that physical education (PE) be made a core subject. This was a missed opportunity to encourage taking a whole-school approach to physical activity. Schools should be directed to ascertain the feasibility of opening up grounds for unstructured play out of school hours for the benefit of the community.
Confusion and concerns over health and safety regulations that are preventing many children from taking part in active outdoor play must be addressed. Half of children polled for a Playday survey said they had been prevented from climbing a tree because it is ‘too dangerous’ (ICM/Playday 2008). Play Wales supports the Health and Safety Executive’s statement on the importance of considering the benefits, as well as the risks, when assessing children’s play (2012). All those working with children should adopt this holistic approach to risk assessment.
There is an urgent need to address the negative perceptions of children and young people playing in their communities. The intolerance of children and young people playing out in their communities is having an increasingly detrimental effect on the health of children. The restriction imposed on the freedom of movement by children by the misuse of anti-social behaviour orders has contributed to a negative view of children and young people accessing public space and made children less active.
Priortising and investing in children’s play will result in improvements in children’s health and wellbeing, and hence a reduction in the pressures on the National Health Service in Wales and the public purse. Enabling children to do what comes naturally to them – playing – should be a public health priority.
Children and young people call for ‘More safe places to play’
Children and young people call for ‘more safe places to play’ in National Assembly for Wales’ Children, Young People and Education Committee’s Legacy Report: Views of Children and Young People. More skate parks and a youth parliament were also among the issues that mattered the most to children and young people.
Read more here.
Physical activity guidelines for early years
The joint UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) physical activity guidelines advise children under the age of five to be physically active for at least 180 minutes everyday and to reduce sedentary behaviour.
To visually demonstrate the physical activity guidelines the CMOs have published the ‘Every movement counts’ infographic which encourages children under the age of five to ‘Move more. Sit less. Play together’.
Wales’ new Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton said:
‘This infographic will help early years teachers, nursery schools, health visitors and doctors to talk about the importance of young children being active.’
Creating accessible play spaces – a toolkit
The Creating accessible play spaces toolkit is designed to provide clear and concise information that helps to create play spaces that enable all children to play in, along with friends and family.
It contains information intended to help understand and address issues of concern and it provides practical, step-by-step tools and templates for undertaking work linked with removing the barriers to accessing play space faced by disabled children and their families.
This toolkit focuses on spaces that have been designed specifically for play, such as playgrounds and play areas. However, it can be applied to many spaces throughout our communities and public space whether they have been specifically allocated for children’s play or not.
Read more about the toolkit here.
Play Wales impact report 2016 – 2017
The impact report provides an overview of Play Wales’ work and achievements to advocate for children’s play over the past year.
It includes sections on how we’ve supported national priorities and engaged with our audience, provided opportunities, produced publications and how we have collaborated locally to ensure the play workforce and playwork workforce is well-informed, across Wales.
The report also includes a foreword by Play Wales’ Chair, Dr Mike Shooter CBE as well as a section on how we will work to continue to support and promote children’s play to create a play friendly Wales.
UK Children’s Rights…
UN Committee feedback on UK children’s rights
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recently examined the UK Government’s UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) report in Geneva. The UN Committee assessed the state of children’s rights in the UK over the last five years and has now published concluding remarks on the UK’s report. In the Rest, leisure, recreation and cultural and artistic activities section the Committee welcomes the Welsh Government’s play policy and Play Sufficiency Duty but raises concerns about under-funding of play policies and insufficient places and facilities for play and leisure in the four nations.
Read more here.
Archbishop of Wales Fund for Children…
The Fund has been set up to support children in need and their families and local communities. Successful applicants include community playschemes. Grants can range from £100 to £5000. The Board of Trustees meets twice each year to consider applications.
Read more here.
Education in Wales: Our national mission 2017-21
The Welsh Government has published an action plan for education in Wales between 2017-21.
The plan builds on the 2014 document, Qualified for Life and the 2015 curriculum review.
It sets out how the school system will move forward, including the implementation of the new curriculum.
The action plan focuses on raising standards, reducing the attainment gap for students with low-income families, and delivering an improved education system.
You can find out more from the Welsh Government website.
Landmark health Bill introduced
The Bill will ban smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds as well as introducing a mandatory licensing scheme for procedures such as acupuncture, body piercing electrolysis and tattooing. Intimate body piercings will be prohibited for those under the age of 16.
Visit the Welsh Government website for more information.
New action plan to improve care and support for people with Autism
The Welsh Government’s refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan aims to improve waiting times, diagnostic pathways and integrated services for children and adults with autism.
The plan will introduce a range of measures to improve services, including a 26 week time target will be introduced for first appointments. Improvements will also be made to assessments, in meeting support needs and raising awareness of ASD.
Find out more here.
Fundamental Rights Charter
Eurochild national partner network members Children in Wales, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Children in Scotland and Children’s Rights Alliance (Ireland) joined Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and representatives from the Children’s Commissioner’s offices for an event on ‘Children’s Rights following Brexit’ which took place in Westminster on 13th September.
The seminar was organised by the European Children’s Rights Unit (University of Liverpool) in partnership with a number of non-governmental organisations, and provided an opportunity to hear directly from child rights advocates from across the UK, alongside Members of Parliament and representatives from the devolved administrations.
The outcome of UK withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will have lasting implications and consequences for children living in the EU and the UK, including the devolved nations. This seminar set out some of the key priorities which will affect those under 18 and considered what actions needed to be taken to ensure that they receive appropriate exposure in the broader Brexit negotiations.
As the EU (Withdrawal) Bill progresses through Parliament, the seminar provided a timely opportunity to consider possible amendments which could be submitted to help ensure that the human rights of children are not lost or forgotten when existing EU laws are transferred from Brussels to the UK in March 2019.
The Seminar focused on 5 key priorities
· The Status of EU national children in the UK
· The Potential implications for Child Protection and Safeguarding
· Children and Young people living in Poverty
· The transportation of EU law and children’s rights
· That the views of children and young people are heard and taken seriously
Drawing on the National Networks Statement and Call to Action, members drew attention to the distinct challenges which will confront children and young people in the devolved nations of the UK and Ireland, including the need to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and meaningfully engage the Welsh and Scottish Governments as part the Brexit negotiations.
Eurochild members also raised concerns over the UK Government’s rejection of calls to fully incorporate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into law, believing that this was not necessary as a number of the Charter rights were already located in UN treaties which the UK Government have ratified.
Yet the repeated reluctance of successive UK Governments to fully incorporate UN human rights treaties, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, in spite of successive UN Committee recommendations, has resulted in children not having an equivalent legislative protection under UK law.
In the absence of the UNCRC being brought fully into UK law, the Charter must now be transposed fully through the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
National Network members in UK and Ireland will continue to work closely with Eurochild secretariat and their members to champion the rights of children and young people as negotiations and dialogue continues.
The forthcoming meeting of National Partner Networks of Eurochild in Belgrade in October will provide an opportunity to update the rest of the national networks.
Child Protection Strategy
With this Strategy we hope to lay the foundation for good participation of children within our own work, both in the secretariat and amongst members, with the ultimate goal of achieving a ‘gold standard’ in participatory practice by 2020.
Eurochild at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Symposium
Eurochild attended the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Symposium with seventeen children from nine different European countries to involve them in the discussion at the Symposium.
The symposium focused on poverty and migration. As Eurochild points out, a third of all asylum seekers coming to the EU in 2015 and 16 were accompanied or unaccompanied children. Children are also more at risk of poverty than adults, with one in four at risk in Europe.
The participating children and young people proposed that children and adult cooperate together to ensure that the children’s perspectives met with adult knowledge of legal systems, to ask for free, compulsory education throughout Europe and to suggest that children and young people met refugee children to help them integrate.
To read more about the symposium and Eurochild and the children and young people’s participation, including videos and a summary report from the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights, please visit the Eurochild website here.
Child Rights and Welfare Groups urge UK Government not to sideline Children’s Rights from Brexit Talks
Eurochild and five national partner networks, Children in Wales among them, have released a statement calling on the UK Government to ensure that children and young people’s views are heard during the Brexit negotiation process. Eurochild is a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people.
The statement calls on all those at the negotiating table to ensure that a mechanism to listen to children and young people’s views is part of the negotiation; provide assurances that there will be no roll back on existing children and young people’s rights; ensure that future positive developments are recognised by all parties and continuing to recognise the importance of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process as essential to minimising the harm of Brexit to children, especially in Northern Ireland.
The undersigned to the statement represents 1800 children’s rights organisations across Europe, who seek a dialogue with key negotiators to discuss their recommendations and ensure that children’s rights are safeguarded.
To read the statement in full, please visit Eurochild’s website here.
76% of children and young people feel that adults don’t take their opinions seriously
Less than a quarter of under 25s in Wales feel that their opinions are taken seriously. This information was revealed as part of an ongoing survey conducted by Meic. Meic is the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for children and young people in Wales.
The survey also suggests that children and young people are not provided with information to challenge people who don’t respect their rights or views. This is a right set out in the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Meic has announced its new campaign to promote rights awareness among children and young people in Wales.
The campaign launched on 25th July 2017 and will see the release of a new interactive video-game style film. It will empower children and young people to access accurate information about their rights. It will also boost their confidence to exercise them day-to-day.
The Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People provided legal advice and support for the video. It said:
“The Observatory’s research indicates that most children and young people do not know about laws that are relevant to their everyday lives and experiences and that there is a huge gap in accessible, accurate legal information for them. We are delighted to be able to help Meic start to fill this gap, combining their creative talent with our legal and human rights expertise.”
Steph Hoffman, Head of Meic said:
“This survey shows that most children and young people in Wales aren’t being listened to. We all need to do more to protect and amplify their voices and address their worries. It is imperative that they are provided with the right tools to recognise their right to be heard and taken seriously. This video will equip children and young people with the information about their rights. This will, in turn, empower them to stop, change or improve their situation.”
Follow the video campaign from 25 July 2017 on Meic’s Facebook (@meic.cymru), Twitter (@meiccymru) and Instagram (@meic.cymru).
Children and young people in Wales up to the age of 25 can contact Meic 8am to midnight, 365 days of the year by instant message, text, call or email.
Children with Disabilities…
Resources for parents of children with disabilities…
Kidz to Adultz Wales News – This Kidz to Adultz Wales Newz is specifically for parents, relatives and carers of children and young adults with disabilities, additional needs and the professionals who support them, who live or work in Wales and the surrounding areas.