Call to set up child rights commission
A child rights commission should be set up to better protect at-risk youngsters, a specialist charity said yesterday.
Kelly Hunt, the executive director of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, said that “continued allegations of abuse, a lack of child-centred justice, and the devastating loss of more than one teen this year” meant that a multi-agency independent body was vital.
Ms Hunt added: “Child protection is not owned by a single entity and is best assured through collaboration.
“A select committee of professionals in the field of social work, counselling, paediatric care and youth-serving agencies, that includes non-governmental organisations, should be established using the non-partisan framework for appointment.”
Ms Hunt said she was aware that the Government had proposed a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee in amendments to the Child Safeguarding Act.
She added: “However, a bipartisan, child-safeguarding committee that is focused solely on the protection of children should be appointed to support DCFS while holding them accountable for good governance.
“Helping agencies should have a seat at the table and be consulted as a voice that is on the ground working directly with the vulnerable who most benefit from this type of oversight group.
Ms Hunt said: “In order to provide children with a stronger safety net for the prevention, intervention and treatment of crimes against young people, we must work together as a community.”
She added that a child rights commission would “not only be objective and focused on best practice”, but focused on four priorities — the promotion of child-friendly services and the elimination of violence against children, as well as acting as a guarantor of children’s rights and promoting child participation.
The Government did not respond to a request for comment last night.
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