Minister Zappone appoints Ms. Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance,
as Chairperson to the National Advisory Council

Tuesday 10th April, 2018

Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today announced the appointment of Ms. Tanya Ward as the new Chairperson of the National Advisory Council.

Ms. Ward who is the Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance has been appointed  for a term of office from 4th April, 2018 to 31st December, 2020.

The National Advisory Council advises the Minister and the Children and Young people’s Policy Consortium on the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures (the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People from 2014 – 2020) and its constituent strategies.  It has a role in generating support amongst stakeholders, and provides a forum to support implementation and addresses challenges in a positive, solution focused manner.

Minister Zappone welcomed the appointment of Ms. Ward stating:  “The appointment of Ms. Ward is an acknowledgement of her outstanding work as a true champion for children’s rights and as one of Ireland’s leading advocates for children and young people.    

I am delighted that Tanya has agreed to take on this role.  Her previous work as a member on the Council is testament to her passion to improve the lives of children and young people in Ireland.  She has a very influential voice at national, regional and local level through her work as Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Ireland’s national umbrella group for children.  Tanya has been behind many landmark victories for children and has a proven track record to achieve real social change.

Through her prior work on the National Advisory Council, Ms. Ward has shown that she is capable of leading change to ensure that the commitments contained in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures are implemented, thus ensuring progress is made on the achievement of the five national outcomes for children and young people to engage, develop and achieve their full potential. Her work on putting forward solutions to end Child Poverty is of particular note.  

I look forward to engaging further with Tanya through the Council on important issues such as Child Poverty, Child Homelessness, Children’s Rights and Equality, Prevention and Early Intervention, Learning and Development, Brexit and its implications for children and young people and other important issues.

I would like to wish Tanya well in her role as Chairperson and she has the full support of both myself and my Department. “

Ms. Ward commented on her appointment by saying:

“I’m delighted to be appointed Chairperson by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. To date the Council has been expertly chaired by Dr Owen Keenan and I am honoured to continue his excellent work. It is also a great privilege to work with my fellow colleagues on the Council who are incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable when it comes to issues affecting children and young people in Ireland today.

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures (BOBF) is the most important national policy for children and young people in Ireland. It is a critical framework bringing together the state and non-governmental sector to deliver a better Ireland for children. Not only does it include a commitment to lift over 100,000 children out of consistent poverty, it is also the key to tacking child homelessness, intervening early in a child’s life before problems escalate and ensuring children are treated equally in society.

My time as Chairperson is timely as we are at a critical juncture – BOBF is half way through its life cycle and just two years left to make its vision a reality. There are still many challenges ahead but I look forward to working with the Council and all key players to come up with solutions that can and will truly change children’s lives”.

ENDS//

Note for Editors

The National Advisory Council harnesses expertise and experience from the community and voluntary sector, from academia and from independent experts and individuals who have specific expertise in working with and for children and young people. The Advisory Council brings together for the first time and into one forum a diverse range of interests from sectorial stakeholders in the domains of children and young people’s policy and provision. These sectors connect with and mobilise communities, families and individuals, and as such are seen as essential groups in the implementation infrastructure seeking to ensure the achievement of the five national outcomes for children and young people.

The Council provides a platform for the community and voluntary sector to engage with the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium and its constituent elements to actively inform and support the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. The Council consists of four constituent groupings.

The first three groups have representation drawn from the Early Years, Children and Youth voluntary sectoral pillars. Nominations are drawn from umbrella organisations representing each of these constituencies. In addition, the first three groups are supplemented by the appointment of a Ministerial nominee to each, bringing the total to four nominees per constituent grouping.

The fourth group comprises four Ministerial nominees who are key individuals with experience and expertise in themes and trends impacting on the lives of children and young people.  There are 16 positions on the Council with five positions currently vacant which will be filled in the near future.  The positions on the Council are non remunerated.

Details of Membership of the Advisory Council and Terms of Reference
Chairperson:  Ms. Tanya Ward

Early Years (Nominating body:  National Voluntary Childcare Collaborative)
1.        Ms. Teresa Heeney (Early Childhood Ireland)
2.        Prof Nóirin Hayes (DIT)
3.        Mr. Fergus Finlay (Barnardos)
4.        Ministerial nominee: Mr. Tom Costello

Children (Nominating body:  Children’s Rights Alliance)
1.        Vacancy
2.        Ms. Grainia Long (ISPCC)
3.        Ms. Karen Kiernan (One Family)
4.        Ministerial Nominee:  Prof Dympna Devine

Youth (Nominating body:  National Youth Council of Ireland)
1.        Sean Campbell (Foroige)
2.        Ms. Mary Cunningham (National Youth Council of Ireland)
3.        Mr. John Lawlor (Scouting Ireland)
4.        Ministerial Nominee:  Dr. Tony Bates

Independent Group
1.        Ministerial Nominee (Sport):  Vacancy
2.        Ministerial Nominee (Youth):  Vacancy
3.        Ministerial Nominee (Disability Sector):   Vacancy
4.        Ministerial Nominee (Business):  Vacancy

The Advisory Council’s terms of reference are to:

·        Advise the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and the constituent strategies of Early Years, Youth, and Participation;
·        Support the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures in and across the community and voluntary sector, and in wider society;
·        Ensure that the specific expertise and perspectives from respective areas of children and young people’s services inform the work of the Council;
·        Generate support for change among stakeholders and sectors;
·        provide an enabling forum in which to support implementation and address challenges in a solution-focused manner;
·        Ensure that the views and voices of children and young people inform the work of the Council.