Let’s Make Devon a Child Friendly County

Saturday 23rd April 2022 11:00 am
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Let’s Make Devon a Child Friendly County
Let’s Make Devon a Child Friendly County (The Post )

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Cllr Rob Hannaford the Chair of the Children’s Scrutiny Committee, Devon County Council, is encouraging people to get involved with a new child-friendly city (CFC) initiative. He said:

“A child-friendly city (CFC) initiative is a city or any system of local governance that’s committed to improving the lives of children and young people within their jurisdiction.

“This is often based around their rights as articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“So in practice this works to ensure the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions.

“This also proactively includes the private sector, businesses, charities , faith groups, sports groups and the wider society generally.

“Some key examples and aspirational aims would include, protection from exploitation, violence and abuse, have a good start in life and grow up healthy and cared for, proper access to quality social services, experience excellent inclusive and participatory education and skills development.

“Furthermore it aims to support, encourage and empower, children and young people to express their opinions and influence decisions that affect them, participate in family, cultural, community and social life, live in a safe secure and clean environment with access to green spaces, meet friends and have places to play and enjoy themselves, and crucially have a fair chance in life regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, income, gender or ability.

“As part of the improvement work, Devon County Council , entered a Sector Led Improvement Programme (SLIP) with Leeds City Council’s Leeds Relational Practice Centre. They have experience in improving from Inadequate to Outstanding, based around a vision of putting children at the centre of everything the Council does. Their vision is named ‘Child Friendly Leeds’.

“Therefore Devon is taking the lessons learnt by Leeds on best practice and system wide solutions to form part of a strategic aim to make Devon the best county to grow up in, creating a ‘Child Friendly Devon’. As part of the Council’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025, the Council has prioritised making Devon the best place to grow up: “We are committed to being a child friendly Devon where all children and young people are safe, healthy, ambitious, and can fulfil their potential”.

“There is now a strong cross party commitment moving forward to consult, develop and establish a Child Friendly Devon as soon as possible.

“I am currently chairing a Task Group to progress these important matters, with colleagues, and I am also working closely with the Cabinet Member for Children and Schools who is also committed to this exciting opportunity, to ensure that the voice of the is child heard, and that they are at the centre of everything we are doing.

“This is the beginning of an important Devon wide conversation, and as part of the task and finish groups work, we are seeking evidence , views, experiences, ideas and suggestions , in order to help us develop how this model will work in Devon. So can I please encourage everyone to come forward and engage with this initiative, and during this planning phase please email me at [email protected] , and I will forward your input into the scrutiny process.”

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