Sinn Féin MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann has said co-ordinated preventative and early intervention policies is the only way to tackle the challenging needs of our children and young people.
Speaking at the opening of an International Conference on Improving Children's Lives hosted in Belfast the West Belfast MLA said:
“For too long where you are born and the economic and social constraints you face as a child has determined your health, education, employment and life expectancy.
“That is no longer acceptable and it is the responsibility of us all to respond appropriately to the needs of all our children and young people to ensure their healthy development and equality of opportunity.
“It is important that we put in place the structures that will ensure policy development across departments is co-ordinated and works without boundaries and limitations.
“Crucial to this is working closely in partnership with voluntary and community organisations so that together we can tackle existing patterns of disadvantage and inequalities that prevent every child having the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“If we fail to do this we will fail those children and young people who need it most.” CRÍOCH/END