The Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group publish report for the United Nations, highlighting children’s rights priorities in Wales
This year marked the start of the journey towards the next examination of the government’s progress in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group have released a report which has sought to identify the priority issues impacting on children in Wales and the barriers they face in realising their rights. Drawing on evidence received from over 80 organisations and individuals through consultation events and a call for written evidence, the report acknowledges that whilst progress has been made in some areas, all children, particularly those most vulnerable, continue to face huge levels of disadvantage and inequalities, which have been exacerbated as a consequence of the pandemic.
The report, which will be submitted to the United Nations, provides a list of questions for the Welsh Government across 30 policy areas affecting children, including Child Poverty, Mental Health and Education. We hope that the United Nations will take account of our questions when issuing their report to the government early next year.
Commenting on the Report, members of the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group said
Children in Wales
Children in Wales welcome this report and the engagement of a wide range of organisations and individuals who have highlighted many of the challenges and barriers children and young people face when trying to access their rights. The report provides a timely reminder ahead of next May’s Senedd elections, of the need for all political parties to prioritise children and young people, and commit to making a real difference to improving their daily lives, ensuring that children’s rights are central to Covid-19 recovery planning. (Sean O’Neill, Policy Director, Children in Wales)
“The pandemic has brought immense additional pressure to the work of facilitating children to realise their rights. For this reason this UNCRC reporting cycle is hugely timely, and will assist us all in maintaining a steady focus on these essential guiding rights and principles. Barnardo’s Cymru welcomes this report in its entirety and is particularly interested in how calls relating to child abuse and exploitation, mental health and children’s experience of family support and social care are pursued and acted upon by Welsh Government, as well as using them to inform our own work with children, young people and families’. (Sarah Crawley, Director, Barnardo’s Cymru)
National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru
“The National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru welcomes this report. While 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for everyone, deaf and disabled children, young people and their families have faced particular challenges in accessing vital support as a result of the pandemic. Moving forward, providing enhanced support for this vulnerable group will be critical in minimising the longer term impact of the pandemic for deaf and disabled children and young people.”
“We know that unacceptable attainment gaps between deaf learners and their peers have persisted in Wales – and indeed have grown at the foundation phase. As we approach the introduction of the ALN Reforms in September 2021, the Welsh Government must act now to allay concerns over the effective implementation of the reforms and to ensure that all eligible learners access support plans. There is a very real danger that if the new legislation is misinterpreted, very many of our vulnerable disabled learners will fall through the net.”
“At NSPCC Cymru we believe a rights based approach to tackling violence and abuse against children is essential because all children have a right to live free from abuse and neglect.”
“Whilst we applaud the work in Wales on the child rights agenda, it is clear there is still some distance to travel. Despite Welsh Government passing ground-breaking legislation around prevention and to improve protection and support for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, the implementation has been sluggish and we remain very concerned about the lack of sustainable funding for specialist services working with children, including access to by and for services for black and minoritised children.” (Elinor Crouch-Puzey, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer)
“Play Wales welcomes The Wales Civil Society Report, produced by the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group. The report highlights a range of issues which impact on children’s ability to access their right to play in Wales. The recommendations made in the Play and Leisure section align with views and solutions suggested by the Welsh play and playwork sector. It is important that Welsh Government notes and progresses the recommendations. This will enable Welsh Government to continue its renowned commitment to children’s play, recognising the important contribution it makes to a healthy and happy childhood.”
Save the Children Wales
“Save the Children wants all children to have a safe, happy childhood and ensure that they have the best start in life. This means enabling them to realise every opportunity for their future by having access to a standard of living adequate to fulfil their physical, mental, social, and moral development as defined in Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). There is long-standing, consistent evidence that shows a significant relationship between the disadvantage faced by children living in poverty and young children’s early learning outcomes. We welcome the launch of this important report highlighting the need for more progress to be made on both preventing and reducing poverty amongst children, and its impact on young children’s learning and development. Reducing poverty is key to tackling the attainment gap and improving children’s outcomes in the early years, giving all children the best start in life.”
“UNICEF UK has an observer status with the Monitoring Group and had contributed to this report. We hope that both The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Welsh Government will take a note of it. The devolved authorities in Wales have significant responsibility for policy areas affecting children and we call on them to use this report as the basis for an even more effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Through its programmatic work in Wales UNICEF UK supports realisations of child rights by working with Cardiff Council to become a Child Friendly City and with over 450 schools to become Rights Respecting embedding the CRC into their practice and policies.”
A copy of the report can be accessed here
The Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group is a national alliance of non-governmental and academic agencies, tasked with monitoring and promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Wales. https://www.childreninwales.org.uk/our-work/rights/wales-uncrc-monitoring-group/
For further information
Children in Wales