The Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network maintains a timeline of English policy documents relevant to child and maternal health.
Northern Ireland Policy: Key Links
Here we provide a list of Northern Ireland policy documents that focus particularly on child and adolescent health or its determinants.
The main overarching policy on child health and wellbeing is the Ten year strategy for children and young people in Northern Ireland 2006-2016. The strategy includes strategic goals in key areas affecting children and young people and takes into account the role of parents and families. It also examines the scope for achieving a more joined up approach within Government to children's issues. Read more abou this strategy
Northern Ireland: income and poverty
This Child Poverty Strategy sets out the actions proposed by the Executive (NI Government) to address the issue of Child Poverty in NI. It is laid before the Assembly in fulfillment of the NI Government’s obligations under the Child Poverty Act 2010.
Northern Ireland: early years and early intervention
Bright Start - The Northern Ireland Government’s Programme for Affordable and Integrated Childcare (A Strategic Framework and Key First Actions) sets out the framework, principles and a range of key first actions to help deliver the Executive’s vision for childcare. The final Childcare Strategy will be published in 2014.
Bright Start sets out the broad direction of travel for the Childcare Strategy and identifies 15 key first actions that will be put in place to address the main priorities identified during consultation and research.
Northern Ireland: parenting and play
The aim of the policy is to establish play within a policy framework that will place high value on play and leisure as an essential element in the development of children's lives, families, communities and society.
Northern Ireland: education and schooling
Children in Northern Ireland are offered an optional pre-school year before embarking on 12 years of compulsory education.
In addition to the compulsory education years, children are offered at least one funded (free) preschool year. Further information on preschool education is available using this link.
The first seven years are spent in primary school. Northern Ireland has one of the youngest compulsory school starting ages in Europe. Detailed information is available using this link.
Post primary school
Children transfer to post primary school for a further five years compulsory education and an additional two optional years. Further information about arrangements for transfer into post primary school are available on the Department of Education's website.
Despite attempts by several Education Ministers to stop the practice of academic selection (where children are tested to gain admission to some post primary schools), the practice persists across Northern Ireland. Find out more here.
All schools in Northern Ireland follow the NI curriculum which is laid out by the Department of Education. Schools are organised into three main groups:
- Controlled schools – traditionally attended mainly by children from the Protestant community
- Maintained schools – traditionally attended mainly by children from the Catholic community
- Integrated schools – Established to educate children from both main communities together
Northern Ireland: public health and health services policy
Northern Ireland has had integrated health and social services for over 30 years. The Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) is the Northern Ireland Government department with responsibility for policy on health and social care. Further information on health and social care policy and services in Northern Ireland can be found on their website.
The DHSSPS published consultation documents following a review of paediatric health services and paediatric palliative care in November 2013 and January 2014. These consultation documents will inform a new strategy which is expected later in 2014.
The DHSSPS is also responsible for public health policy, including on health promotion, disease prevention, emergency preparedness and response and health protection. (link)
The Public Health Agency (PHA) was established in 2009 under a major reform of Health structures in Northern Ireland. It was established to bring a renewed and enhanced focus on public health and wellbeing by bringing together a wide range of public health functions under one organisation. It is is a multi-disciplinary body with four key functions:
- health and social wellbeing improvement;
- health protection;
- public health support to commissioning and policy development;
- HSC research and development
- Further information, including reports, statistics and publications are available on the PHA website.
Here we provide a list of Scottish policy documents that focus particularly on child and adolescent health or its determinants.
There are numerous other Scottish policies on specific issues such as sexual health, substance misuse, health service quality, etc that are also relevant to child and adolescent public health. You can find these on the Scottish Government website by browsing the Topics pages or by searching Publications.
In addition, the Scottish Public Health Observatory maintains a useful index of Scottish policy documents relevant to the health of people of all ages.
Scotland: income and poverty
- Achieving Our Potential: A Framework to tackle poverty and income inequality in Scotland (2008)
- Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland (2011)
Scotland: health inequalities
Scotland: early years and early intervention
- The Early Years Framework (2009) sets out the overall framework for supporting young children through their early years
- The Early Years Taskforce, Change Fund, and Collaborative are linked initiatives that aim to implement the aspirations of the Early Years Framework
- Universal Health Visiting Pathway in Scotland - Pre Birth to Pre School
Scotland: parenting and play
- National Parenting Strategy: Making a positive difference to children and young people through parenting (2012)
- Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Vision and Our Action Plan (2013)
Scotland: children's services
- The Getting It Right for Every Child programme (established 2006) provides an overarching framework for all children's services. It supports coordinated planning and service delivery to secure and improve children's wellbeing.
- Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill
- Getting It Right For Looked After Children and Young People Strategy
Scotland: education and schooling
- Scottish education policy is complex but the Curriculum for Excellence is a key starting point.
- In addition there are a number of policies specifically focusing on child health and wellbeing within schools.
Scotland: child health services - general
- Delivering a Healthy Future: An Action Framework for Children and Young People's Health in Scotland (2007) provides the overall framework for the organisation and delivery of child health services.
Scotland: child health services - specific
There are numerous other policies on specific aspects of children’s health and related health services, for example:
- A Refreshed Framework for Maternity Care in Scotland (2011)
- The Scottish Child Health Programme (i.e. the programme of preventive care including screening, surveillance, and parenting support that is provided to all families) is described in a series of policy documents: Health for all Children 4: Guidance on Implementation in Scotland (2005), A New Look at Hall 4 – the Early Years – Good Health for Every Child (2011), and The Scottish Child Health Programme: Guidance on the 27-30 month child health review (2012)
- The Mental Health Strategy for Scotland: 2012-2015 (2012) includes a specific focus on child and adolescent mental health.
- Hospital Services for Young People in Scotland (2009)
- National Delivery Plan for Children and Young People's Specialist Services in Scotland (2009)
- Cancer Plan for Children and Young People in Scotland 2012-15 (2012)
- Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy
Scotland: nutrition and obesity
- Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action (2011)
- Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight (2010)
Scotland: child protection
- National guidance for child protection in Scotland (2010)
- There is also the Scottish Government topic page on protecting children for more information.
Here we provide a list of Welsh policy documents that focus particularly on child and adolescent health or its determinants.
Generic sites providing lists of relevant publications:
Wales: income and poverty
Wales: health inequalities
Wales: early years and early intervention
Wales: child health services - specific
There are numerous policies on specific aspects of children's health and related health services, for example:
- A Strategic Vision for Maternity Services in Wales (2011)
- Safeguarding Children Service: Guidance and Documents