Rocio Cifuentes announced as new Children’s Commissioner for Wales

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the appointment of Rocio Cifuentes as the new Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

12/01/22

Rocio Cifuentes announced as new Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Cifuentes will take up the position in April 2022 when current Commissioner Sally Holland’s tenure ends.

The Children’s Commissioner role was created to promote and protect children’s rights and ensures that the Welsh Government’s policies and legislation benefit children and young people.

Rocio Cifuentes is currently the Chief Executive of the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST), which the Welsh Government describes as the leading organisation supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the pandemic has heightened the importance of the role of the Children’s Commissioner to promote and protect children’s rights.

“ This role will help to shape the future for a generation of children, whose lives have been shaped by coronavirus,” Drakeford said. “That’s why it’s so important to continue to have a strong voice to speak up for them and to inform our decision making.”

Paying tribute to outgoing Commissioner Sally Holland for her work during her term, the First Minister added: “Sally has been a strong advocate for the children and young people in Wales – from embedding children’s rights in key pieces of legislation, to providing an insight into children’s experiences of the pandemic via the large-scale, internationally renowned ‘Coronavirus and me’ surveys. Sally Holland has made an impressive and long-lasting contribution to a generation of children in Wales.”

The First Minister accepted a recommendation from a cross-party panel of Members of the Senedd, to appoint Ms Cifuentes as the next Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Cifuentes was born in Chile, arriving in Wales as a one-year-old with her parents as political refugees. She attended Cambridge University, where she studied Social and Political Science, before undertaking a Masters in Social Research, at Swansea University.

She has led the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST) since its inception in 2005, having previously worked for the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations, Swansea Young Single Homelessness Project, Gower College and Swansea University.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, who chaired the cross-party selection panel said it is imperative the next Children’s Commissioner has the knowledge, understanding and lived experience “to ensure all views and values shape the brighter future our children so desperately need.”

“I’m delighted Rocio Cifuentes has been appointed as our next Children’s Commissioner. She brings a wealth of expertise and understanding to the role and I look forward to working closely with her in the coming years.”

Rocio Cifuentes said it was “an immense honour and privilege” to be appointed as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

“As the First Minister says, the role of Commissioner will be more important now than it ever has been, delivering for the generation of children that have lived through Coronavirus,” Cifuentes said.

“To all the children and young people of Wales, I make the commitment today to ensure your voice, your views and your future is at the heart of everything we do.”

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