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8 July 2009

Young People speak at the House of Lords

A Voice for Vulnerable Children:
Will Family Legal Aid provide a service for the future?

Two young people who participate in Freedom Road Creative Arts activites and who also co facilitate training sessions run by the Rights and Participation Project, (RAPP), that are delivered on a local, regional and national level to Social Workers in Training and Foster Carers, were invited to speak in the House of Lords at the second parliamentary meeting on vulnerable children and law. Chiquita and Becka joined Lord Thomas of Gresford, Sir Alan Beith MP, Lucy Theis QC (Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association), Barbara Esam (Director of Legal, NSPCC), Mark Hatcher (Director, Representation and Policy, The General Council Bar) and Lucy Reed (a young barrister from St. John's Chambers, Bristol), to discuss and raise concerns over proposals made by the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Services Commision to impose cuts to family legal aid.

Chiquita and Becka both spoke about the positive impact that care has had on their lives, and brought to the meeting fresh insights as to how vital it is for children and young people to be heard in court when decisions are being made about the futures. Lord Thomas spoke to the girls following the meeting and congratulated them on their input and commented on the confidence that they both have. Mark Hatcher said that the speeches made by Chiquita and Becka will give the case for fighting the proposals added strength.

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