16 April 2014
Fitzgerald launches ‘Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020’
• Framework sets-out transformation goals and outcomes for children and young people and new structures reporting to the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy
• Minister says Framework is about “moving on from addressing the legacy of failings to promoting a new culture and cross-government approach to improving outcomes for all children.”
Local TD Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, was last week joined by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and An Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD to launch ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 -2020’. The launch event took place in Dublin Castle.
‘Better Outcomes: Brighter Futures’ is the first overarching national policy framework for children and young people aged from birth to 24 years and will be implemented by the Department of Children and Young Affairs in collaboration with all Government departments and key State agencies.
The Minister said that “our children are our present joy and future wealth” and added that she saw this Framework as representing this Government’s ‘Action Plan for Children’.
The Minister added that ‘Better Outcomes: Brighter Futures’ is built on the Government’s Medium-Term ‘Strategy for Growth’ which recognised that our increasing child and youth population is a significant resource for our country; and further recognised that ensuring the best possible outcomes for this group is therefore an important element in our future economic planning.
The vision of the Framework is to work towards achieving five Outcomes identified as most important for children and young people in Ireland. The Government has committed to working towards these through a series of actions, described as key transformational goals. These goals will underpin the implementation of the Framework and will be a key element of its success.
Addressing the launch Minister Fitzgerald stated that the challenge now for Government and society was one of “changing our viewpoint, from looking back and responding – to looking forward and planning. It’s the challenge of moving on from addressing the legacy of failings to promoting a culture and cross-government approach to improving outcomes for all children.”
“This Framework outlines what we, across Government, aspire to; and what we demand, as the best outcomes for children and young people. It sets-out the six big transformational goals and the new implementation structures through which Government departments can work together to achieve these outcomes and be accountable for progress. This Framework represents a comprehensive outline of every one of every Government Department’s goals, commitments and responsibilities to children and young people.”
The Minister noted that the Framework included over 160 commitments in total:
• From focusing on early interventions and quality services to promote best outcomes for children, particularly in the vitally-important early years;
• To working better together to protect young people who are marginalised, at-risk or who demonstrate challenging or high-risk behaviour;
• To setting a target of lifting 70,000 children out of poverty by 2020;
• To improving childhood health & wellbeing in line with goals of ‘Healthy Ireland’;
• To enhancing job opportunities for young people – building on the ‘Action Plan for Jobs’ and Youth Guarantee ;
• To delivering better supports for families and parenting.
The Minister acknowledged the real and express commitment of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste; and indeed all government Ministers to work together across the whole-of-Government to improve outcomes for all children.
Minister Fitzgerald explained that the Framework incorporated a dynamic new whole-of-government implementation structure headed by her own Department of Children & Youth Affairs. This new implementation structure tasked with ensuring there is 'joined-up-thinking' on children and young people will report to the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy, which is chaired by an Taoiseach.