Today is Universal Children’s Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The UK is a proud and long-standing signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and this Government remains fully committed to the promotion and safeguarding of children’s rights.
The UNCRC sets out an enduring vision for all children to grow up in a loving, safe and happy environment where they can develop their full potential, regardless of their background. This Government shares that vision and is dedicated to providing the best possible opportunities for all children but especially those who have the hardest start in life.
It has now been over 2 years since the UN scrutinised the UK’s progress in implementing the UNCRC and published their Concluding Observations. Since the last report, the UK Government has continued to raise its ambitions for all children and has made concrete progress in making sure that all children have the opportunity to thrive and develop.
For example, my Department has:
- Strengthened the quality and range of support for society’s most vulnerable children through the Children and Social Work Act 2017;
- Revised the ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ guidance to better safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- Improved support for children’s mental health in schools; and,
- We are making Relationships and Sex Education compulsory for all secondary school pupils so that young people learn what healthy, safe and respectful relationships look like.
We, as parliamentarians, all play a role in building a fairer society where children can lead happy lives and fulfil their potential. I urge all Government Departments to consider what more you can do to make sure your policies promote the best interests of the child. To help Government Departments to do this, we are proud to be launching a comprehensive children’s rights training package across Government today, which has been developed with the support of children’s rights experts. I strongly encourage my ministerial colleagues to encourage the civil servants in their Departments to take up this training so that children’s rights are further embedded in policy and law making.
In 2010, the UK Government made a commitment to give due consideration to the UNCRC when making policy and legislation. As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, I would like to reaffirm the value that this Government places on the UNCRC and our ongoing commitment to give due consideration to the UNCRC when making policy and legislation.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: