The South Belfast MLA stated: “I spoke with some of the leading figures at the four regional specialist centres in Northern Ireland a few months ago and we discussed the need for much greater interconnection between them. Together with the reforms to focus on empowerment and enablement in children’s residential care more widely, I am confident the Department’s proposals offer a useful and viable way forward.
“What the report does note, however, is that the work must be underpinned by ‘robust legislative and standards frameworks’. This is yet another reminder to the political leaders of the parties with the largest mandates that they also have the largest responsibility to get a local legislative Assembly operating to ensure that such frameworks can be properly developed and scrutinised.
“Nevertheless, I am sure that the proposals can now advance and I will remain in close contact with the Departments of Health and Justice to do all I and my party can to support implementation.”