Big Step Forward In Making Cardiff Wales’ First ‘Child Friendly City’
Cardiff’s ambition to become a child-friendly city has taken a significant step forward after the City Council’s Cabinet agreed a three-year partnership with Unicef UK.
The partnership will see the City Council work with the world-leading humanitarian agency to deliver a ‘Child Rights Partners Programme’ in Cardiff which will embed children’s rights throughout the authority and across the city.
After the Cabinet agreed to the partnership at its meeting on Thursday, March 16, the City Council will now undertake the following steps to make Cardiff a child-friendly city:
• Strengthen the voice of looked after children;
• Ensure young people and children have a voice in policy decisions and major consultations;
• Consider the rights of children when developing and delivering services;
• Give young people and children the opportunity to take part in shaping developments (eg the physical design of public spaces);
• Work intensively in selected areas of the city to pilot the integration of services for children which are delivered by different agencies across the public and voluntary sectors.
Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children & Families, Cllr Sue Lent, said: “We want to make Cardiff a child-friendly city because what can be more important than our children and their futures.
“We don’t want our children’s rights to be ignored. We want children to feel safe, to feel that they have a voice and that they will be listened to. It’s probably fair to say that in the past the rights and the views of children have been disregarded in some instances.
“Institutions in the past may have been guilty of not listening to children. But we want this to go beyond the City Council and beyond other institutions into the very fabric of what makes Cardiff a great place to live in and a great place to grow up in.
“We want everyone in Cardiff to care deeply about the children who live here. We want to create a city that fully respects the rights of children, a city where children are valued, a city where they can grow up feeling safe and appreciated.”
The Child Rights Partners programme was launched in November 2013 with a three year pilot. Child Rights Partners is part of Unicef’s global Child Friendly Cities initiative, which supports cities to put children’s needs at their heart and operates in more than 20 countries around the world.
In January of this year, Unicef UK invited the City of Cardiff Council to join the programme following the authority’s application. Unicef UK’s statement of invitation noted that the application from the City Council ‘demonstrated a commitment to children’s rights, high aspirations for children and young people in the local authority and a coherent vision for how to use the programme as a vehicle for change’.
Cllr Lent said: “I have worked with all my fellow Cabinet members – but especially alongside Dan De’Ath (Skills, Safety and Engagement), Sarah Merry (Education), and Susan Elsmore (Health, Housing and Wellbeing) – to bring our vision of becoming a Child Friendly City that bit closer to reality.”
Cabinet member for Skills, Safety and Engagement, Cllr Dan De’Ath added: “After meeting with Unicef UK we held a range of events – including two Grand Councils involving 180 children and young people to identify areas to move forward with Unicef.
“School children from most of the city’s school councils attended an event at City Hall where we asked for their views on several key issues including the City Council’s budget and the Future Generations Act. These meetings made it abundantly clear that there was a real appetite and desire among young people here to see Cardiff become a Child Friendly City.
“Our ambition to deliver a Child Friendly City will directly contribute to our obligations under the Well-Being of Future Generations Act which requires us to involve people in all that we do, and to act in a manner which seeks to ensure the needs of the present are met without compromising future generations.”
Leader of the City Council, Cllr Phil Bale, added: “We want to deliver the best possible outcomes for children in our city, especially those children who are looked after or who have left care so they can be happy and lead a fulfilling life. Using the experience of Unicef UK, we hope to strengthen the voice of children looked after by the City Council.”
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