N Ireland gets first children’s minister

Campaigners have welcomed the appointment this week of Lord Rooker
as Northern Ireland’s first minister for children.

Northern Ireland children’s commissioner, Nigel Williams, and Lynda
Wilson, director of Barnardo’s Northern Ireland, said Rooker’s
priorities should include creating a more joined-up approach within
government for children.

Pip Jaffa, a representative of the Non-Government Organisations
Forum, made up of children’s charities including Save the Children
and NSPCC, said the minister needed to be supported by a
ring-fenced children’s budget.

Wilson agreed that this was important but said it would be more
helpful to find out where the money spent on children in Northern
Ireland went as it was currently unclear.

Rooker has asked Williams to research children’s services

Rooker had been a minister of state at the Northern Ireland Office
since May, with responsibilities including finance, personnel and

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