The children's commissioner in Wales is to have a much wider
role. Major extensions to the duties of the commissioner, the first
in the UK, have been agreed by the Cabinet and the changes will be
fast-tracked through parliament as an amendment to the Care
The commissioner will now take in domiciliary services for
disabled children, the social care elements of day care services
for children under eight, and adoption agencies and services.
The commissioner will also cover children's homes, services for
children in private and voluntary hospitals and clinics,
residential family centres, and welfare inspections of boarding
Establishing a children's commissioner has been one of the Welsh
assembly's top priorities and was put into effect well before the
Waterhouse report into abuse at children's homes in north Wales
recommended such a post earlier this year.
The assembly's health and social services committee has already
been given the job of investigating the commissioner's role.
A number of agencies including Children in Wales, the NSPCC and
the Welsh Local Government Association have also been making the
case for a commissioner for some time.
The assembly's first secretary, Rhodri Morgan, said: "We have
now had confirmation that the commissioner's function under the
Bill will be extended to a wide range of settings. The commissioner
is a significant and innovative development for Wales and will be
unique in the UK.
"We are seeking the earliest opportunity for further primary
legislation to give the commissioner wider statutory functions
concerning all children in further settings."
The appointment of the commissioner has all-party support in the