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REMIT OF WELSH CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER TO BE WIDENED

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Hansard 19 Apr: Column 961 ...
Hansard 19 Apr: Column 961

The remit of the proposed children's commissioner for Wales will extend to children coming within all the services to be regulated through the Care Standards Bill, Welsh secretary Paul Murphy announced in the commons.

This will require an amendment to the Bill, which currently gives the commissioner authority only for children in care. The amendment, being drafted by Welsh office and Welsh assembly officials, will enable the commissioner, as well as all children's homes, to deal with services in private and voluntary hospitals, the welfare of children living away from home in boarding schools, fostering agencies, voluntary adoption agencies, local authority fostering and adoption services, welfare aspects of day care and child minding provision for the under-eights, residential family centres, and children who receive special care in their own homes.

But some MPs wanted an even wider remit. Win Griffiths, Labour MP for Brigend, asked that the amendment be drafted so that the Welsh assembly had powers to extend the commissioner's role beyond that set out in the Bill.

Julie Morgan, Labour MP for Cardiff North, asked the Welsh secretary to work closely with assembly executive members to ensure the final powers of the commissioner applied to all children in Wales and were based on the United Nations convention on the rights of the child.

Mr Murphy said the assembly was still considering a wider role and remit, and the government would consider urgently and sympathetically when proposals were ready.

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