Cardiff's progress towards global recognition as a Unicef Child Friendly City


The progress Cardiff has made in working towards becoming a globally recognised Unicef Child Friendly City, will be outlined in a report to go to Cardiff Council's Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 21, January.

The report also seeks the support of the Cabinet to continue commitment to Cardiff's Child Friendly vision within and beyond the Council and advises on thenext steps in preparing for potential recognition as a Child Friendly City in Autumn 2021.

On World Children's Day in November 2018, Cardiff launched its Child Friendly Strategy, placing the rights and voices of children and young people at the heart of the city's policies, strategies and services.

The detailed multi-agency delivery plan aimed to involve children and young people in decision making and addresses the barriers which limit their life chances. It also marked a significant step towards Cardiff's ambition of being internationally recognised as one of the UK's first Unicef Child Friendly Cities,a global programme that brings together Unicef and local government to put children's rights first and supports Local Authorities and partners to deliver a child rights-based approach when designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating local services and strategies for children.

During the two year implementation phase, Cardiff set out five goals and a series of commitments to be delivered through the Child Friendly City Strategy;

-         Every Child and Young person is valued, respected and treated

-         Every Child and Young Person has their voice, needs and priorities
heard and taken into account;

-         All children and young people grow up in a safe and supportive

-         All Children and Young people access high quality education that
promotes their rights and helps them develop their skills and talents
to the full;

-         Children and Young people have good physical, mental and
emotional health and know how to stay healthy

The report also recognised the need to involve children and young people themselves in COVID recovery planning in view of the impact the pandemic has had on their lives.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "InSpring 2020, Unicef UK provided a progress report which recognised that Cardiff Council has played a pioneering role in establishing the Child Friendly City Programme in the UK, and stated that there is clear evidence that significant progress has been made in establishing, prioritising and implementing a child rights-based approach in the Council's culture and commitments.

"We are also all aware of the impact that COVID has had on the lives of young people, and the potential to entrench disadvantage.  It is absolutely essential as a city we seek to address the impact as we develop recovery plans and ensure that children and young people and their views are central to that process.  We cannot allow children's and young people's lives to be derailed by COVID."

Unicef UK noted that the establishment of the Cardiff Family Advice and Support service in a short space of time was an impressive achievement and responds to the importance of a single point of comprehensive informationand support for children and families.

They also recognised Cardiff's efforts in establishing a child rights-based approach to education across the city, accelerating the growth of the Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) establishing a firm child rights knowledge base and network in the city's schools.

It was also acknowledged that Cardiff has strong ideas around health including the establishment of a young people's health board, a child-focused health charter, child friendly streets and a focus on young people's use of and treatment within A&E.

Other areas mentioned included the significant commitment of senior Council leaders and elected members and the number of staff who demonstrated increased awareness of child rights and the tangible efforts to establish a communications plan, working with children and young people to achieve a wide range of engagement across key stakeholders.

Cllr Merry added: "It is clear that Cardiff has made good progress in embeddingchildren's rights into our strategies and the way in which we support and nurture our young people. In recognition of this Unicef has recommended that the Council submits for Child Friendly City recognition in the Autumn of 2021.

"Cardiff will continue to carry out its vision, including the implementation of the Rights Respecting Schools programme to further embed children's rights into school communities and maintain a meaningful approach to the participation of children and young people in policy, strategy and decision making where changes will impact upon their lives.

"Sustainability of commitment to children's rights is key to attaining Unicef recognition in 2021 and Cardiff will work hard to carry out its next steps, ensuring that children and young people are meaningfully involved in the decisions that affect them."