PRESIDENT'S REPORT

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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR CHILD WELFARE

 

PRESIDENT'S UPDATE

January 2009

It is both my privilege and my pleasure to be elected to serve as IFCW’s new President. I congratulate the recent appointees to the new Executive Committee (EC) whose expertise is drawn from across the world. We will be working closely together over the next years to further the work of IFCW. For details of the Executive please see the website www.ifcw.org. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing EC for their support. In particular I would like to thank Bruce Rivers the outgoing President who has shown such enthusiasm and leadership during his term. I would also like to thank Sharon Osborne for all her hard work in acting as Treasurer and galvanising interest in membership.

I am thrilled that they will both remain on the IFCW EC as deputy presidents. Sadly Mauri Upanne has now finished his term in the Executive. I would like to thank him sincerely for all the support and commitment he has given IFCW. I should probably tell you a little about myself, and my background. I am Chief Executive of Children in Wales which is the National Umbrella agency for organisations from all disciplines and sectors, working with and for children and young people in Wales (UK) as well as peer led organisations. I have worked in the children’s field all my working life as a Social Worker, Lecturer, Researcher and Manager of Children’s Services. Internationally, I am President of Eurochild (www.eurochild.org) which aims to combat child poverty and social exclusion across Europe. IFCW has begun its 20th year and making the rights of children a reality remains the fundamental reason for IFCW’s existence. We will continue to advocate for children all over the world. This is something we cannot do alone and I would like to thank all our members for the ongoing support you have given us over the last years.

There is still much work to be done. It is impossible to ignore the impact of the economic downturn but we will continue to advocate nationally and internationally for the Millennium goals to be met and for our Governments to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which is also entering its twentieth year. It is through education, public awareness and research that we can make a difference, which is why IFCW holds a WorldForum each year. This year the WorldForum will be held from 20-23 October in Bali, Indonesia co-hosted by the Indonesian Child Welfare Foundation. The theme of the conference will be “Toward a safer and better world by realizing the rights of the child”. A special conference rate will be provided to IFCW members, and a call for papers will be made shortly. Please see the website www.ifcw.org for updates.I was delighted to see so many of you at the 19thWorldForum in Wales, UK. We were pleased to haveinternational keynote speakers and many likemindedcolleagues from across the children’s sector traveling to Wales to share their expertise. It was a wonderful opportunity for around 300 participants from over 30 countries across the globe to exchange ideas on a wide range of highly relevant topics and to develop further (in)formal networks. The participation of children and young people has been identified as a key issue by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child so we were particularly pleased to see young people from five European countries come and give their views at WorldForum 2008.At the end of the conference we were also able to develop a declaration which calls on state governments to Fully commit to the UNCRC Place children and young people at the heart of society Develop services appropriate to children and young people Prevent all forms of violence against children and young people Ensure equality of opportunity for all children and young people The declaration can be downloaded from the website www.worldforum2008.org.

The conference report and presentations from WorldForum 2008 are also available to download.You will soon be receiving an in voice for IFCW membership fees.The infrastructure of IFCW is supported primarily through the resources of its members and the annual fees help to offset some administrative costs of maintaining a web site, the production of materials as well as IFCW participation in the UN and other international forums. Please do encourage child welfare organizations in your country to join IFCW. If you need materials for this purpose, just send me a note.Finally please do keep in touch.I would be glad to receive any suggestions regarding the content of the website or e-newsletter that you might wish to share with us.

Further information about the dates the enewsletter is published is on the website. The fact that we do have a website is due, in no small part, to the hard work of our Vice President T.K. Mathew, Chief Executive of Deepalaya, Delhi, India.On behalf of IFCW I would like to thank TK for his efforts, support and time devoted to making the web siteande newsletter a reality.You can contact me at president@ifcw.org.

Lucy Akhtar a member of my staff at Children in Wales will also be working with me on IFCW activity and you can contact her at lucy.akhtar@childreninwales.org.uk.

Yours faithfully

Catriona Williams

President IFCW

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