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Published, 28 June 2017

New institute to inspire better future for children

Young adults from a number of European countries joined Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, to mark the official launch of the new Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures at the University of Strathclyde today (Wednesday 28 June.)

The Institute brings together world-class professionals and researchers with the shared vision of ensuring children and young people facing adversity have what they need to reach their full potential.

It will work closely with the practitioners, services and systems supporting children and young people, including those affected by offending, and those in need of protection, to investigate and tackle the root causes of social inequality and adverse childhood experiences.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, said: “This Government is committed to giving every child born in Scotland the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and giving young people the best possible chance in life is the central purpose of the new Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures.

“The Institute will help protect children and help them overcome adversity by drawing on the skills and knowledge of professionals in Scotland and working internationally. It is an exciting collaboration, with the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice at its heart - two organisations, funded by the Scottish Government, with a wealth of expertise in supporting young people in Scotland.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “As a socially-progressive University, Strathclyde is committed to its founding principle of ‘useful learning’, bringing positive change to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“The new Institute reflects our ambition to do more for our children and young people, and marks a major step in the life of the University and its contribution to Scottish and global society.

“The voices of children and young people are critical to our success in ensuring we create powerful, and lasting positive change for the global communities we serve.”

Inspiring Children’s Futures is a joint venture between the University’s existing Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, and CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, in partnership with the wider international research community.

Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of the Institute of Inspiring Children’s Futures, said: “We have a bold ambition to create a world where children and young people have what they need to reach their full potential, particularly children who experience adversity.

“We will be focusing initially on the challenges that bear most heavily on the lives of children in adversity: stigma and its profound effects in childhood; economic and financial pressures that can make raising children even harder for families; the promotion of young people’s educational opportunities and outcomes; and the benefits, as well as the misuses, of digital technology.

“Communities and family relationships increasingly face huge stresses; our job is to support children, young people and their families, by working with those who are developing policies, undertaking research, leading public services and delivering at the front line.

“Building on the excellent work of the Centres with their partners, and based on our reach across Scotland and internationally, we aim to draw on the fresh perspectives emerging about these challenges. Our work will help to ensure that in addition to our current activities, we are always focusing on the core determinants, taking a more holistic, child-centred perspective, and achieve more by thinking, learning and working together.

“Fundamental to all of this, of course, is that we also listen to the voices of the children and young people themselves, and their families, who offer crucial perspectives on what matters most.”

The Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures will be driven by a commitment to promote the rights of children nationally and internationally, guided by the principles within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ends

Media enquiries:

Mike Findlay, CELCIS Communications Manager
T: 0141 444 8512
E: mike.findlay@strath.ac.uk

Kat Hannah / Stuart Forsyth
University of Strathclyde
Media and Corporate Communications
T: 0141 548 4123 /4373
E: corporatecomms@strath.ac.uk