A Child Friendly Calderdale

Cllr Megan Swift

Young people in Calderdale could soon have more of a role in decisions made in the borough, as Calderdale looks to work towards being more ‘Child Friendly’. 

At the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 8 August, members will discuss plans for Calderdale to seek Child Friendly status, an accreditation from children’s charity UNICEF. 

The Child Friendly City initiative was launched by UNICEF in 1996 and Child Friendly cities are now all over the world. 

If approved by Cabinet, Calderdale would look to progress the idea of becoming a Child Friendly borough by working to achieve 12 standards set by UNICEF based on improving children’s rights. They include children being able to: 

  • Influence decisions about their city
  • Express opinion on the city they want
  • Be protected from exploitation, violence and abuse
  • Live in an unpolluted environment
  • Participate in cultural and social events
  • Be an equal citizen of their city with access to every service, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, income, gender or disability

Many of the standards are already in place in Calderdale, but to achieve Child Friendly status, Calderdale would have to demonstrate that it fully meets all of the standards, showing that children’s rights are reflected in policies, laws, programmes and budgets.  

In Calderdale, young people have, for some time, been increasingly involved in the democratic process. For example, young people speak at Council, Scrutiny Panels and the Young People’s assembly.  

If Cabinet agree to progress the idea of achieving Child Friendly status, this work would need to continue, but young people would also be required to make comment and judgements about the services they receive as well as recommendations about improvements. 

To meet all the requirements it would also require input from all areas of the Council, as well as partners. Young people would also be consulted throughout the process. 

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift, said:

“We’re always looking for ways to engage with young people and they’re a key part of our vision for the Council. By starting the process of becoming a Child Friendly borough, we would have clear goals to ensure we meet the needs of young people and their voice is heard and taken into consideration when making council decisions.”  

The item will be discussed at the meeting of Cabinet on Monday 8 August at Halifax Town Hall starting at 6pm. 

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