Sharing invaluable learning’s for the protection and safeguarding of children is a cross border priority.
That was the message from Health Minister Edwin Poots along with Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), Republic of Ireland, who today addressed the first All Island Conference on child protection.
The conference, ‘Improving Child Protection Practice: Making the most of Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges’ was held under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and was organised in co-operation by officials from both jurisdictions.
Minister Poots said: “It gives me great pleasure to open this All Island Child Protection Conference jointly with Minister Fitzgerald. I am certain that working together will assist to improve the outcomes for children in need and their families in a cross border context.
“This first All Island Child Protection Conference has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of our children and young people through improved learning and enhanced practice by our organisations and the professionals responsible for safeguarding our children.
“Our children’s welfare is paramount and it is only right that they receive the protection deserving to them. This conference is another step forward in helping both governments focus more closely on those children in greatest risk.”
The conference represents part of the ‘knowledge exchange’ element of the work programme, agreed in July 2012, in the area of child welfare and protection. It is aimed at improving cross border co-operation in this vitally important area through the use of research and evidence based practice.
The conference reflected on previous reviews and inquiries, highlighting the necessity to learn from experience and any failures identified in reviews, but also stressing the need to move forward by learning also from success.
Minister Fitzgerald: “I am delighted to be here for this All Island Conference as it provides a great opportunity for colleagues from the North and South to share experiences and learning with a view to further improving policy, legislative and service provision for the protection and safeguarding of our children into the future.
“As a society, our first task is keeping our children safe. It is only by understanding both the good and the bad, that we can improve our system and our practice to prevent further harm and protect our children.”