Here it is! It’s been a long time in the planning and preparation but the Children’s Legal Centre Wales has its website up and running – obviously because you’re here on the website now, reading this blog…
Have a look around and let us know what you think. The website is designed to be user friendly. The content is aimed at children and young people – a resource so that you can understand the law as it applies to you (that is, children and young people) in Wales.
Why does Wales need a Children’s Legal Centre?
Wales has a devolved government. The Welsh Government and the National Assembly between them have powers to propose and introduce laws in many areas of life in Wales. Some of the law, for example the laws around criminal justice, are the same in Wales as they are in England and the rest of the UK, but in other areas, such as education and social care, the law in Wales is different. The founders and supporters of the Children’s Legal Centre Wales recognised that children and young people in Wales need somewhere to find out reliable information about the law in Wales and how it applies to them.
Until recently, Wales was the only country in the UK that did not have a dedicated Children’s Legal Centre – but that’s all changed!
Children, Young People and Democracy at the Senedd
Almost as exciting as having a new website was the opportunity to launch it at the Senedd in Cardiff on 20th June 2018 at a special event organised by The Morgan Academy and sponsored by none other than Y Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, the Presiding Officer of the Senedd. ‘Children, Young People and Democracy’ was a public event aimed at drawing attention to and stimulating thinking about key issues relating to “…the place of children and young people in Wales democracy today and the opportunities for developing the guardians of democracy for the future.”
The Children’s Legal Centre had a stand to showcase the website and the ‘chat bot’ which we’re very excited about. Developed by Jay Morgan as part of his Masters studies at Swansea University, the chat bot will eventually be integrated into the website to make it even easier for you to find answers to your questions about the law in Wales. We were in great company at the Senedd, with the Observatory on Children’s Human Rights, CYPAW (the Campaign for a Young Person’s Assembly for Wales) and the National Assembly for Wales officials who are working on the voter registration and first elections for the Welsh Youth Parliament., running stalls, along with the Lleisiau Bach Little Voices project and young people from Blackwood Comprehensive School Caerphilly and representatives of the Pentrehafod School Swansea’s School Parliament.
The event was really well-attended, with Assembly Members and representatives from Welsh Government coming along as well as members of the public and lots of other organisations such as Tros Gynnal Plant and the Foster Care Co-operative. We even chatted with representatives of the Children’s Commissioner in Jersey! What a great opportunity to share the website with a wide range of people!
A historic Welsh/Scottish DGD Hub too
Following the event in the Senedd, young people also attended a DGD Hub discussing children as human rights defenders, an innovative collaboration between Welsh young people from Blackwood Comprehensive, Pentrehafod School, and members of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Youth Advisory Panel on the one hand and members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Scotland’s Children’s Parliament on the other via a live video link. Adults were there strictly as observers!
The DGD Hub was set up to gather thoughts and opinions of young people in Scotland and Wales in advance of the UN’s Day of General Discussion in September. Read more about it here.
What’s next for the Children’s Legal Centre Wales?
This is just the start! The Children’s Legal Centre Wales is a dynamic project and we’re looking forward to moving into the next phase. We’ll continue to develop content for the website and start focussing on specific areas where the law is different in Wales, or where there are new developments.
You can help shape the website too. If you have any comments or questions, get in touch with us: email is best – firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to take your feedback – the more the better so that we can make sure we’re truly a platform for children and young people.
We’ll be posting regularly on our blog and updating more on social media. If you have Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn you’ll find us there too. If you’d like to sign up to our mailing list to receive occasional emails about our events and for other information about the human rights of children and about how the law in Wales affects children, you can do that here.
We’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who’s been with us on the journey so far – we hope you’ll stay with us for the next chapter. Special thanks go to the funders who supported the development of the Children’s Legal Centre: Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Legal Education Research Network and the Legal Education Foundation. And of course, to Swansea University, and especially Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, for ongoing support in many different, crucial ways.
Finally, we’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Kerry and Emlyn at Gwe Cambrian Web who designed and built the website. You’ve done a great job!