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BBC Wales's Gail Foley
"The report says everyone from the school cook to the head teacher should listen to children and pass on concerns"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 March, 2000, 18:42 GMT
Children's commissioner plan takes shape
The former Bryn Estyn Children's Home
Much of the abuse took place at the now-closed Bryn Estyn home
The Waterhouse report into child abuse has been debated for the first time by members of the National Assembly for Wales.

Health and Social Services Committee members heard that a deadline of early next month has been set for the Assembly to agree to amendments to the Care Standards Bill.

This will pave the way for a children's commissioner with real powers - a key recommendation of the report.

Sir Ronald Waterhouse
Sir Ronald Waterhouse - key recommendations
The Waterhouse Report revealed how children in care in north Wales endured years of "appalling suffering".

It was the result of the UK's largest child abuse investigation.

A definite note of urgency has crept into the Assembly's plans to appoint a children's commissioner.

Members have been told that necessary amendments to the Care Standards Bill have to be made by early April in order that the Bill can gain royal assent in July.

Several charities, the two existing ombudsmen, the Royal College of Paedatricians and a representative of the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association are due to give evidence.

Ann Owen, who represents the association, said health workers had a vital role to play in detecting and stopping abuse.

The commissioner will be in post by the end of the year and will concentrate on children in the care of local authorities before broadening the scope later.

It is likely that a children's rights director will also be appointed to oversee the inspection and regulation of children's services in Wales.

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