Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England, Speaks at National Fostering Agency Annual Conference

19/05/2011 12:00am

Maggie Atkinson thanked all NFA Group Foster Carers for the important contribution they make to improving the lives of so many vulnerable children and young people and added that what carers do is the at heart of Children’s Commissioners fulfilment for the most vulnerable of both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNHCR) and Human Rights legislation. 

Maggie Atkinson’s role as it is now was created by the 2004 Children Act and it rests on the notion that children and young people need advocacy from a statutory champion.

The vision is that children and young people are:

  • Actively involved in shaping all the decisions that affect their lives
  • Supported to achieve their full potential through the provision of appropriate services, which they have a hand in shaping
  • Living in homes and communities where their rights are respected and their responsibilities learned and where they are loved, safe, and
  • Enjoy their lives as citizens now

The Children's Commissioner summed up the views of children and young people that staff and herself gather as wanting to understand and participate in their society and to be listened to and understood by it in return.

The need for a bespoke plan for each child that fits their needs and their time frame, timely decision making, more consistency, less delay and more normalised relationships was emphasised.

Many of the UNCRC articles apply to children and young people foster carers and NFA employees work with. At the heart of the work of the Children's Commissioner is Article 12 which states that children and young people have a right to have their voices taken seriously in decisions that affect their lives.

For more information on the role of the Children's Commissioner, please visit the Children's Commissioner website.