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'Don't backtrack on our children'.

Byline: Steffan Rhys

THE recession should not be used as an excuse to backtrack on delivering children's services, it was warned today. Children's Commissioner for Wales The Children's Commissioner for Wales is a publicly funded post in Wales, with responsibility for protecting children's rights as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Peter Clarke was the Commissioner from its introduction in 2001 until his death in 2007. , Keith Towler, said local authorities are not consistently implementing Welsh Assembly Government The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, LlCC) was firstly an executive body of the National Assembly for Wales, consisting of the First Minister and his Cabinet from 1999 to 2007.  policies and are failing to put the best interests of children at the heart of decisions.

Among the main concerns in his annual review for 2008-09 are the protection of vulnerable children and the ability of Wales' newly-reorganised health boards to do so. He also criticises action on child poverty as "inadequate" and the UK's youth justice system as being dominated by a punitive approach which does not comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, often referred to as CRC or UNCRC, is an international convention setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. .

"I have seen a number of instances of decisions that are made in relation to children that are constrained by resource issues rather than the best interests of the child being paramount," said Mr Towler.

"While I acknowledge times are tough on local authorities, we must make sure the current financial \ climate isn't used as an excuse to delay the full implementation of national policies."

Mr Towler said recent high-profile cases had "highlighted the important role of health providers in identifying child injuries".

Meanwhile, recent reports by Care and Social Services social services
Noun, pl

welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs

social services nplservicios mpl sociales 
 Inspectorate in·spec·tor·ate  
n.
1. The office or duties of an inspector.

2. A staff of inspectors.

3. An inspector's district.


inspectorate
Noun

1.
 Wales Wales, Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff.  and Health Inspectorate Wales into the safeguarding and protection of children, have identified inconsistencies in practice among local authorities.

Mr Towler said: "I am concerned the recent consultation on the unification of public health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract  across Wales is not sufficiently robust in relation to the role of the National Public Health Service in Wales in safeguarding children.

"Developments in Wales in the past year have shown the need for WAG to have a clear strategy in place that will ensure all children are effectively safeguarded."

Mr Towler said child poverty was "possibly the single most important issue facing modern Wales". He welcomed WAG's launch in June 2008 of the Taking Action On Child Poverty strategy but said it was "one initiative in a plethora of policy moves where implementation and progress on child poverty has been inadequate".

"This must change," he said.

A WAG spokesman said: "Children and young people's wellbeing in Wales and the promotion of their rights as citizens remains one of our top priorities and a key part of our One Wales agreement. We will now consider the report's findings and respond... in line with the time scales agreed with the Children's Commissioner's office."

Welsh Local Government Association Leader, Coun John Davies John Davies may refer to:
  • John Davies of Hereford (1565?–1618) poet and satirist
  • Sir John Davies (poet) (1569–1626) poet, statesman, attorney-general in Ireland
  • Dr. John Davies (Mallwyd) (c.
 said: "Whilst there is much for local authorities to be proud of in terms of their progress over the last few years, we recognise that some key challenges remain."

Greta Thomas, NSPCC NSPCC (in Britain) National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

NSPCC (Brit) n abbr (= National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) → Kinderschutzbund m 
 Cymru/Wales director, said: "The NSPCC shares... concerns about implementation of WAG policies at a local level."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 10, 2009
Words:465
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