'It is very fitting that Peter Clarke takes up office as the UK's first children's commissioner on St David's Day. We have led the way by establishing this post and today marks an historic occasion for the children and young people of Wales.
'The principal aim of the commissioner will be to promote and safeguard the rights and welfare of children and young people in Wales. He will be an integral yet independent part of the assembly's strategy for listening to all children and young people in Wales and ensuring their voices are heard,' she said.
The commissioner has been initially established under the Care Standards Act 2000 and his initial functions relate to the services regulated under that Act. However, the children's commissioner for Wales Bill now before parliament aims to give him much wider powers.
He will have the power to review the effect on children in Wales of the exercise of functions by a very wide range of bodies, including the assembly itself and public bodies such as local authorities, health authorities and assembly sponsored public bodies. He will be able to examine cases of particular children and to assist them in taking forward cases involving this wide range of bodies.
The commissioner will also be able to review and monitor arrangements for complaints procedures, whistleblowing and advocacy, across a wide range of bodies in Wales providing services to children. These will include local education authorities, social services, NHS hospitals, GPs, schools, other education establishments and training organisations.
Jane Hutt said: 'Peter Clarke was appointed in a unique way with the involvement of young people from across Wales. I am very pleased to celebrate his coming into post today. This is an important and exciting step that has been taken by the assembly towards making a real and effective improvement in the lives of our children and young people.'