Child Friendly Towns
What is a Child Friendly Town?
It is a town, or community that is committed to fulfilling children’s rights. It is where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions. It is, as a result, a town or city that is fit for all.
If you want to “Read More” :
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) was launched in 1996 –
to act on the resolution passed during the second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to make cities liveable places for all; in UNICEF terms, for “children first”.
The Conference declared that the well-being of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance. Globally, the initiative is organised through UNICEF, www.childfriendlycities.org who produce a ‘Toolkit’ and a nine point plan to achieve child friendly status.
European Network of Child Friendly Cities (ENCFC)
What constitutes a child friendly town or city varies from country to country? A European Network of Child Friendly Cities (ENCFC) has been formed to give a child-added value which is missing from existing networks such as Eurocities, Sustainable Cities, Healthy Cities etc.
A child-friendly town or city is not simply a response to the demand for a continually improving system of childcare, welfare, education or local authority services for children. It is a response to the need to shift the issues in local youth policy from the fringes of local politics to the centre, upgrading youth policies from the level of ‘care’ and ‘benefits’ to that of development goals for the local authority and other relevant agencies, including sporting and community organisations.
It means a commitment to an in-depth and long-term approach to the whole range of issues faced by children and youth in the entire fabric of everyday life, in the family, the home, at school, at work, in their free time, in the pursuit of recreation and culture and in the day-to-day life of the city.
The London Declaration
At the ENCFC conference in 2004, the London Declaration was produced which has been signed by the mayors of towns and cities across Europe, beginning with London and Derry. The declaration can be downloaded from www.london.gov.uk
Berlin – Child Friendly Projects Examples
These are Examples of Child Friendly City Projects – In Berlin:
Adventure Playground City Farm
In Ireland, Drogheda, Derry and the City of Galway have adopted recommendations that will help them to achieve child friendly city status. The issues that were examined include:
- The relevant policies of the local authority
- The demographics of the child population, age groups and areas of the town or city with high or low child populations
- How the voices of children and youth are considered in the decision making processes of the local authority, agencies and community organisations?
- What facilities are provided for children and youth, in terms of playgroups, holiday play schemes, after school clubs, playgrounds, recreational facilities, youth clubs, programmes for disadvantaged children and youth?
- Who provides these facilities and where?
- Questionnaires to schools, youth and community groups concerning children’s involvement and their needs, and finally
- Proposals to make the area more child friendly. These can include providing new playgrounds and recreational facilities, safer routes to school, including improved footpaths, cycleways and road crossings, public transport, Home Zones, and improved and extended youth programmes. Tackling educational disadvantage may also be an issue in some areas. Priorities may also be attached to these issues where funding may be a concern.
It is important that the process is not seen as being solely a local authority issue as all stakeholders need to be involved if any progress is to be made.
Carrying out a child friendly town study is something that can be tackled by a community organisation, as in Drogheda and Derry (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would also make a good Transition Year project for schools. Sugradh would like to see more child friendly towns in Ireland and we can offer advice if needed.