RCPCH responds to Welsh government's commitments on children and young people

In October, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales published her annual report.
Wales flag - red dragon on green and white background

It contained a number of important recommendations covering a range of issues including child poverty, the cost of public transport, health advocacy, mental health at school and responding to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. 

The Welsh Government has now responded to that report and accepted some of its key recommendations, including: 

  • The Welsh Government must set ambitious targets to tackle child poverty in Wales, accompanied by a comprehensive public action plan and timescales. This plan must be published alongside the updated child poverty strategy.
  • On mental health: The Welsh Government should ensure that that the Whole School Approach Framework is rolled out across all schools in Wales. Welsh Government must develop accessible and child friendly resources and supporting resources for school staff to be published by September 2023.
  • Following the final publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Welsh Government must coordinate and publish a Welsh Implementation Plan.
  • It has also agreed ‘in principle’ to a pilot of offering free public transport by bus and rail for under 18s in its forthcoming legislative plans for transport in Wales; and Regional Partnership Boards’ plans for new safe accommodation need to become operational in 2022/23, ensuring that all are therapeutic environments.

Responding to these new commitments, Dr David Tuthill, Officer for Wales said:

I’m grateful to the new Children’s Commissioner for Wales for her considered and important annual report, which includes recommendations that could make a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of children in Wales. 

I’m also grateful to the Welsh Government for giving this report its full consideration and for accepting the need to progress these recommendations. I’m heartened that at this time of a cost-of-living crisis, the Welsh Government has accepted the need for ambitious new targets to tackle child poverty in Wales. 

We know that poverty is a huge driver of negative health outcomes and child health inequality. Children living in poverty are more likely to have poorer health outcomes including low birth weight, poor physical health, and mental health problems. Very recently, over 100 of our members in Wales wrote to the First Minister asking him for very similar actions on child poverty. Taken with other commitments made by the Welsh Government, we hope will form the basis of a comprehensive cross-departmental child health and wellbeing strategy.