Ministers Fitzgerald and Poots open the All Island Conference on Child Protection

-   Susan Moss

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), Ireland and Edwin Poots MLA, Minster for Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), Northern Ireland today (Wednesday 1st May 2013) addressed the All Island Conference ‘Improving Child Protection Practice: Making the most of Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges’. The conference is being held under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and organised in co-operation by officials from both jurisdictions.

Participants at the conference will hear from international speaker, Professor Marie Connolly, Chair and Head of Social Work at the University of Melbourne, about supporting child and family-centred system in child protection through an evidence based approach. This followed with presentations from a panel of experts, north and south if Ireland, providing an overview of past inquiries and the role of case reviews and their impact of service delivery. The conference made particular reference to not only utilising case reviews to assess mistakes and failings within our child protection systems but also to reflect on good professional practice that will help to strengthen outcomes for children and families.

Minister Fitzgerald prior to addressing the audience stated that she was “…delighted to be here for this ‘All Island Conference’ as it provides a great opportunity for colleagues, North and South, to share experiences and learning with a view to further improving policy, legislative and service provision for the protection and safeguarding of our children into the future.
As a society, our first task is keeping our children safe. It is only by understanding both the good and the bad, that we can improve our system and our practice to prevent further harm and protect our children.”

Minister Poots said “It gives me great pleasure to open this All Island Child Protection Conference jointly with Minister Fitzgerald. I am certain that working together will assist to improve the outcomes for children in need and their families in a cross border context. This first All Island Child Protection Conference has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of our children and young people through improved learning and enhanced practice by our organisations and the professionals responsible for safeguarding our children. Our children’s welfare is paramount and it is only right that they receive the protection deserving to them. This conference is another step forward in helping both governments focus more closely on those children in greatest risk.”  

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