According to a joint statement given by The Children’s Commissioner and The Children’s Rights Director, The Children and Families Bill 2013 is under reform. The reform will see a single organisation promote and protect the rights of all children in England, particularly focusing on vulnerable and marginalised children.
Continuing to raise the profile of vulnerable children and young people, the new Bill will see the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) take on the role of the Children’s Rights Director (CRD). The CRD’s main responsibility will be to continue to promote the rights of children who are looked after, living away from home or receiving social care services. The aim of the new Bill is to build upon the CRD’s, Dr Roger Morgan’s important work in raising the profile of these children and young people in need, which the Children’s Commissioner, Maggie Atkinson and her team have committed to achieve.
The OCC will be responsible for developing the work conducted by the CRD in order to champion the rights of vulnerable children and people, already worked on by the CRD. The groups who will be focused on are those within the asylum & immigration system, in youth justice settings and those with special or additional needs. Aside from these groups, the OCC will continue to promote and protect vulnerable children and young people whose rights have been undermined and voices unheard.
According to the statement, the CRD will lose his legal duty to ascertain and publish views of children in his remit without comment, selection or amendment. Under the new Bill, the OCC will be responsible for continuing to promote the views, experiences and interests of all children in England.
In their statement, the OCC proposes to expand her young people’s advisory group, Amplify, with a similar group which is being set up for children aged under 11.
The statement revealed that the CRD website rights4me.org will close, however all information will be transferred on the OCC’s website, which will commit itself to providing a wealth of advice and assistance to vulnerable children and groups.
Under the new Bill, it is proposed that the annual Children’s Social Care Monitor, which collates views from children in the OCRD’s current remit will be strengthened. According to the statement, the aim is to create a greater and more in-depth insight into the key issues affecting the children and young people.
The OCC will use the views collated to enhance the support needed for children who are looked after, or who are just leaving care. Children’s versions of publications will continue to be created; however, the OCC may also provide children’s versions of government policies. This has yet to be confirmed.
The proposed reforms will continue to provide and potentially enhance the promotion and protection of rights of all children in England.