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Video: NICCY's Youth Panel quiz Stormont ministers at Participation Awards

What will NI politicians do to ensure children and young people are involved in developing policies which directly affect them? That was a key question when several local Assembly members attended the Participation Awards organised by the Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast. Members of NICCY's Youth Panel quizzed Justice Minister David Ford and Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell at the event, which is now in it's third year.

The awards recognise government and public bodies which successfully involve children and young people in their work.

The Youth Justice Agency, North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and Antrim PCSP all picked up Gold Awards.

Ballymena Borough Council, Northern Regional College, Bushmills Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership and Translink picked up Silver Awards.

NICCY Youth Panel members developed three categories for the awards: ‘Preparing Your Organisation for Participation’;’ Engaging with Children and Young People’; and, ‘Follow up and Demonstrating Impact’.

Youth Panel member Philip McCollough said:  “Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account when adults make decisions that affect them.

“Children and young people’s services play an important part in the responsibilities of many public bodies and we expect that each of them incorporate young people in their projects. While this is not always the case, there are examples of government departments and public bodies that are doing things right.”

NICCY Chief Executive Mairéad McCafferty,said, “This is good news for these organisations, for children and young people, and for Northern Ireland society as a whole. It shows that children and young people’s inclusion and participation is beginning to be taken seriously. Services are more effective when young people contribute as active citizens."

Credit: Belfast Telegraph

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