‘Unprecedented opportunity’ to improve lives of children in poverty

An unhappy child. Posed picture.
An unhappy child. Posed picture.

An influential UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of young people in Northern Ireland, the Children’s Commissioner has said.

More than 100,000 children are living in poverty and less than half of those from deprived households achieved at least five good GCSEs, watchdog Koulla Yiasouma added.

She said the high-powered committee would be investigating Northern Ireland at a pivotal moment with the programme for government being decided.

“I feel they have an unprecedented opportunity to get this right for all children and young people. And as Commissioner I will be doing all in my power to ensure that it happens.”

The Commissioner said the focus of the Committee will be on the UK, including Northern Ireland, next week.

“It is unacceptable that over 100,000 children are living in poverty, that less than a half of children on free school meals achieved at least 5 good GCSE’s, and that more than 1,000 children and young people are waiting to access mental health services.

“The new Assembly and Executive present us with a great opportunity to get it right for children and young people, who are nearly a third of the population. They must be clearly visible in the Programme for Government.”