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Kelly opens seminar on including children and young people in public decision-making

25 June, 2008

Including children and young people in public decision-making is a vital aspect of the work of government Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly told a seminar in Belfast.

The seminar was hosted by The Participation Network in association with the Civil Service's Centre for Applied Learning in the Stormont Hotel.

The Participation Network is an initiative supported by OFMDFM, which has been developed to support statutory agencies, local government and government departments to engage effectively with children and young people in the public decision-making process.
Speaking at the event Gerry Kelly said:

"I believe that our young people have a valuable part to play in public life….. They enrich our lives, not just in our homes and families, but in relation to what they can contribute to society as a whole.

"Government, be it central or local, must strive to find better ways and means to seek the views and listen to the concerns of our children and young people.

"A lesson that I, and I am sure all parents, are very well aware of is that what we as adults assume our children and young people think can be very different from what they actually think and it is only by listening to them that we can really learn their views.

"I believe this lesson is one that we in government can take on board to good effect." ENDS

Note to Editors

The Participation Network was introduced as part of the government's commitment to the requirements in Article 12 of the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act.

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