We Must Work Together to Secure the Quality of Support Available; Gwenda Thomas Outlines Her Vision for Children and Social Services in Wales

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

We Must Work Together to Secure the Quality of Support Available; Gwenda Thomas Outlines Her Vision for Children and Social Services in Wales


Byline: Gwenda Thomas

I WAS delighted to deliver the Children in Wales annual lecture at the National Eisteddfod earlier this month as it was a good opportunity to communicate my vision of how children and the most vulnerable in Wales should be protected.

But given the challenges we are facing - reducing budgets and time and people constraints - it is important I share this vision with a wider audience.

There has never been amore pressing time to pool our energies to ensure we are targeting our efforts and scarce resources in the most effective and efficient way.

The history of social services inWales is one of success - there is much to celebrate about our health, social care and public services joint achievements.

We have some good examples of Welsh policies, shaped by Welsh citizens providing uniquelyWelsh solutions.

These include the 40 integrated children centres which provide health, early years education and family support under one roof.

The creation of aWelsh Network of Healthy Schools to embed the importance of good physical, mental and social health and well-being at the heart of the school community, is another.

And the "meic", which is the national advocacy and advice helpline for children and young people under 25, has been an inspirational project, attracting more than 1,200 calls and messages in its first eight weeks.

The Assembly Government's role is to bring a collective vision to ensure the right environment and conditions exist to mobilise and encourage social action.

Using our new powers for social welfare and safeguarding children and young people in Wales, we have brought in laws to eradicate child poverty; embed the principle of the United Nations' Convention of the Child in all our policies; strengthen support for children and families with complex problems and provide extra support for pupils with additional learning needs, as well as providing greater opportunities for play and participation through Foundation Phase and Flying Start. …

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