As part of our work to keep children safe and well during the lockdown, NYAS Cymru has given written evidence to the Welsh Parliament’s Children, Young People and Education Committee. The Committee is looking at the implications of COVID-19 for care-experienced children and young people, and assessing how to best support them throughout the current challenges.
Since the lockdown began, NYAS Cymru has worked with over 500 care-experienced children and young people providing independent advocacy, independent visiting, mentoring, youth participation and mental health support.
NYAS Cymru recently took a snapshot of experiences of the lockdown, in which half of children in care expressed that they are feeling more anxious, and 3 in 5 feeling lonely more often.
Care-experienced children are four times more likely to have a mental health problem, which is in many cases attributed to isolation and loneliness. In March and April, our active offer advocacy referrals have increased in five out of the seven local authorities in which we hold contracts. The current pandemic must not get in the way of a child’s right to be listened to and taken seriously, as enshrined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Executive Director for Wales, Sharon Lovell, said “We welcome the Education Committee’s work to shine a light on the challenges faced by care-experienced children and young people. Their voice must be at the heart of any new proposals or policies that will affect their lives, just as they have shaped our recent evidence to the Welsh Parliament.”
You can read our full evidence to the committee here.