The first Annual Report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is being published today. It is an important document drawing together robust information and highlighting key issues that need to be addressed by governments and others. The Commission’s job is to monitor progress on tackling child poverty and improving social mobility. This includes implementation of the UK’s child poverty strategy and the 2020 child poverty targets. For Wales its role is to describe implementation of the Welsh strategies whilst Welsh Government will produce its own report for the National Assembly.
Catriona Williams, Chief Executive of Children in Wales is one of the Commissioners on the Commission. She stated that: "The fact that attention has been drawn to the issue of child poverty in families where not everyone is unemployed is very important. Work should pay and should not cause hardship for children. There are also important messages about how to prevent poor children from becoming poor adults through lack opportunities throughout their lives. Clearly there needs to be more public debate about how to improve the life chances of poor children."
It is ironic that on the very day that this first State of the Nation report is being published, Catriona Williams Chief Executive of Children in Wales, one of the Commissioners is being presented with an OBE in London for services to disadvantaged children, young people and their carers by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
Catriona said, "I am truly humbled by this honour which came totally out of the blue. I want to thank all at Children in Wales who should be sharing it with me.
"Unfortunately there is still so much work to be done. We have major challenges in relation to combating child poverty in Wales. They are of critical importance to our children and we will continue to advocate on their behalf."
Catriona was a founder member and President of Eurochild which was set up to combat child poverty across Europe. She was also President of the International Forum for Child Welfare, a Vice President of the European Platform of Social NGO’s. She was appointed as a Commissioner to the UK Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in 2012.
1. The report, State of the Nation 2013: social mobility and child poverty in Great Britain, can be downloaded from the Commission’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-nation-2013
2. Catriona has worked in the children and young people’s field all her professional life as a social worker, lecturer, researcher and manager of children’s services and was a leading member of the campaign to establish the first Children’s Commissioner for Wales. She has been a member of many Welsh Government and UK Government working groups, on the board of several charities.
3. Children in Wales was set up 20 years ago and continues to campaign for the interests of children and young people, for the implementation of the UNCRC to become a reality in Wales, and for fair shares for all children, as well as special care and attention for disabled and disadvantaged children.
Our work covers parenting, early years, disability, and children’s rights, amongst other areas, and recently we have been working to ensure that a focus is kept on children in the new Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill. In the current financial situation, Children in Wales is also working to keep children’s issues on the agenda as services and budgets are further pressured.