Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan began by giving a brief background to her Office. It has been in operation for three years and began with fifteen staff and a small budget of â‚¬280,000. The Office has so far received 1700 complaints from children. Children were involved from the very establishment of the office. A constant theme that ran throughout
In Ombudsman Loganâ€™s experience children attach a great weight to being heard during decisions that may affect them. Many complaints to the Office have come from children who have been subject to administrative decisions with the decision makers underestimating the effect of such decisions on the child. There is a consistent denial of the right to participate in decisions and Ombudsman Logan expressly mentioned the issue of family separation. Other complaints from children involve children in the care of the state. Children are often troubled by their lack of access to siblings when they are in care.
She then presented a series of pictures on power point to reveal a number of findings. She showed that young people often have the capacity to be comfortable with issues such as death that adults are not so comfortable with. A child should never be underestimated because of their age. There are different ways to engage young people to find out what their views are, art is a good example. Participation of the child does not always have to be resource intensive.
She then went on to show two DVD presentations. The first was of a boy from the Travelling Community talking about his experience in education.
In conclusion Ombudsman Logan stressed that legislation is required to properly hear the voice of the child. People working with children can make the difference while waiting for this change.
Summary provided by LL.M (Criminal Justice) candidate, John Cronin.