Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Chilean-born daughter of political refugees appointed Children’s Commissioner for Wales

10 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Rocio Cifuentes, Children’s Commissioner for Wales

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

The Chilean-born daughter of refugees will take up the position in April 2022 when Sally Holland’s tenure as Commissioner ends.

The Commissioner promotes and protects children’s rights and ensures that the Welsh Government’s policies and legislation benefit children and young people.

Rocio Cifuentes is the chief executive of the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team. EYST is Wales’ leading organisation supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The role of Children’s Commissioner for Wales is an extremely important one – the pandemic has caused huge disruption to the lives of children. This role will help to shape the future for a generation of children, whose lives have been shaped by coronavirus. 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.

“I want to pay tribute to Sally Holland for all her work during her time as Children’s Commissioner. 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.

“Now, more than ever, the decisions we take as a Welsh Government must have the voice of children and young people at its very core and I’m proud that Rocio Cifuentes as our new Commissioner, will carry out this very important role.”

‘Recommendation’ 

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.

Ms 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 read 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. She previously worked for the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations, Swansea Young Single Homelessness Project, Gower College and Swansea University.

She has been awarded several awards in recognition of her contribution including Ethnic Minority Welsh Women’s Association Social and Humanitarian Award, Muslim Council of Wales contribution to ethnic minority communities and was made an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institute for Welsh Affairs for her contribution to ‘making Wales a better place’.

Rocio Cifuentes has served on several Welsh Government ministerial advisory boards including the Wales Race Forum Youth Advisory Board, and Welsh Refugee Taskforce. She is a board member of the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action, chair of the Welsh Refugee Coalition and a Wales Committee Member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

She is a School Governor and board member of two local charity organisations: Mixtup in Swansea for young people with mixed abilities and Cardiff Friends of Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia. She is also patron for Swansea Stand Up to Racism.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, who chaired the cross-party selection panel said: “It is imperative our next Children’s Commissioner has the knowledge, understanding and the 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’s 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.

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.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Erisian
Erisian
10 months ago

Da iawn, mae hi’n dalentog iawn yn amlwg, ydy hi’n siarad Cymraeg hefyd?

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Dim gobaith ! Pur debyg ei bod yn siarad iaith y Blaid Lafur yn llawn idiomau priodol i gynal ei delwedd fel person sy’n berchen ar syniadau cywir. Angen person sy’n wir radicalaedd sy’n gweld ein cyflwr cenedlaethol eilradd ag yn barod i herio nifer o wendidau sy’n effeithio ar ddyfodol ein ieuenctid

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas
10 months ago

Labour Minister appoints Labour Party activist – nothing to see here.

Brian Clement
Brian Clement
10 months ago

It is absolutely vital that the incoming Children’s Commissioner is fluent in both of our nation’s languages, as the voices of Welsh-speaking children have been wilfully ignored in recent years, and are totally discarded when it come to issues such as housing and employment.

GARETH WESTACOTT
GARETH WESTACOTT
10 months ago

Chilean born and raised in England. Why doesn’t an actual Welsh person ever get to be appointed to one of these posts?

Last edited 10 months ago by GARETH WESTACOTT
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
10 months ago

How does one define an ‘actual Welsh person’? Ms Cifuentes arrived in Wales aged one year, and was raised in Swansea, which last time I looked was well inside Wales.But had you done 30 seconds internet sleuthing you’d know that. My only concern, and this is a general concern about those appointed to these kinds of position, is that Ms Cifuentes does seem to wear rather a lot of hats, and I have my doubts that anyone with so many roles can do justice to any one of them. I think, as someone else has mentioned, that the postholder should… Read more »

Elvey MacDonald
Elvey MacDonald
10 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

She can learn to speak, read and write Cymraeg, as have others over the years.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
10 months ago

Interesting appointment…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.