The children’s commissioner has called on the government and all political parties to commit to continued investment in children’s services to safeguard their rights.
Sir Al Aynsley-Green and his colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland issued a joint statement to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child today (20 November).
The statement said: “Children’s and young people’s rights are not a luxury to be enjoyed only during financially affluent times; they are essential throughout childhood.
“Inevitably, at times of lower economic activity and high unemployment there is an increased need for children’s services. It is therefore not the time to make cuts in such services. Rather, continued investment in early intervention services will lead to cost savings through the reduction in crisis intervention in future years.”
Lack of progress
Aynsley-Green also highlighted the government’s lack of progress on a number of areas earmarked for immediate improvement by the UN including youth justice, asylum and negative attitudes in the media towards children and young people.
His comments follow a hard-hitting report from the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights criticising Children’s Secretary Ed Balls for failing to include children’s rights in any bill of rights for the UK.
“We urge the Government to ensure that it consults widely on this question to ascertain how many of those working closely with children share the Government’s view that it would make no practical difference to the lives of children,” the report stated.
The committee also slammed the government’s refusal to make the UN convention on the rights of the child the framework of local Children and Young People’s Plans.
“We do not understand why the Secretary of State is content to draw up his own Children’s Plan with regard to the principles and Articles of the UNCRC, but is not prepared to require the authorities drawing up local Children’s Plans to do the same,” the committee said.