Each of the four UK Children’s Commissioners are active on social media, making it easy to follow what they are thinking and doing.
Many countries have a Children’s Ombudsman responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). An Ombudsman may also be referred to as a Child Advocate, or, as in the UK, as a Children’s Commissioner. The UK has four Commissioners, one each for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I find it valuable to follow them on social media as they provide a well-informed perspective on current issues affecting children. Here are the four individual UK Commissioners.
Anne Longfield OBE became the Children’s Commissioner for England in March 2015. Prior to this, Anne was chief executive of 4Children – a national charity which works to support children, young people and families. Anne can be followed through these channels:
Twitter: @annelongfield (individual) & @ChildrensComm (official). The official account is busier and has many more followers.
Tam Baillie has been Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People since May 2009. Tam had previously been Director of Policy for Barnardo’s from 2003 to 2009, following 25 years experience as a practitioner and as a manager of services for children and young people and their families. Tam can be followed through these channels:
Online newsletter: www.cypcs.org.uk/news/newsletter
Many of Tam’s speeches and presentations are freely available as PDFs from www.cypcs.org.uk/about/speeches
Dr. Sally Holland became the Children’s Commissioner for Wales in April 2015. Sally was previously an academic at Cardiff University specialising in family and child welfare, and was Director of the Cascade children’s social research centre at the University. Sally can be followed through these channels:
Twitter: @childcomwales (English language) and @complantcymru (Welsh language)
Koulla Yiasouma became the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People in February 2015. Koulla had previously been director of Include Youth, a post she held for 16 years, working tirelessly to improve the experiences of and outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people throughout Northern Ireland. Koulla can be followed through these channels:
Twitter: @nichildcom (official) and @ShriekingGreek (individual & informal)
The four UK Children’s Commissioners mostly act through their individual offices, but earlier this year the four UK Children’s Commissioners published a joint report which scrutinises the UK and devolved government’s record on children’s rights over the last seven years. It identifies areas of common concern drawn across the four nations; they include the state of mental health services, child sexual abuse, children in the justice system, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and repealing the Human Rights Act. You can find the report at each of the Commissioners websites, e.g ‘Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners – UN Committee on the Rights of the Child‘