New Assembly can ‘Close the Gap’ in Children’s Rights

24 May 2022

The Children’s Law Centre has launched a new document outlining some key priorities for the new Assembly to protect children and young people in this jurisdiction. The document, titled ‘Close the Gap’, highlights the positive actions that can be taken by MLAs in a functioning devolved Assembly to close the gap in children’s rights.

Read ‘Close the Gap’

Key priorities range from incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, through a range of youth justice issues, improvements to special education needs and disabilities (SEND) provision, fixing children’s mental health services, supporting children with complex needs, and addressing the gap in prevalence data to assess the unmet needs of children and young people.

Image displaying key priority 'Incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law'

Fergal McFerran, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at CLC said: “In recent years, CLC experts have consistently highlighted the gap in children’s rights in this jurisdiction and the impact this has had on children here. Whether it’s through the NGO stakeholder report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, or the ‘Tracing the Review’ report, the theme is absolutely clear, children and young people in this jurisdiction are being left behind.

“However, our experience tells us that devolution has the potential to transform lives and deliver real change. We believe the new Assembly mandate provides an opportunity to do just that.

“We hope this document clearly lays out some key steps that a new functioning Assembly can take to close the gap in children’s rights. It has been developed through our legal and policy expertise and grounded in our frontline experience working on behalf of children and young people, particularly those most vulnerable and marginalised.

“We look forward to engaging constructively with decision makers over the course of the coming mandate to promote, extend and defend the rights of children and young people.”

Read ‘Close the Gap’