Few dispute that children are entitled to enjoy the happiest, healthiest and safest childhoods we can provide or that they will play a pivotal role in the future social and economic development of this country. For all their importance, children’s interests are all too easily overlooked in policy development and implementation. Such inattention in the past has led to poor but preventable outcomes. One way of increasing the visibility of children in public policy practices is by conducting child impact assessments. By this process, policy is assessed for its likely effect on children before that policy is implemented. It involves determining whether the impact of policy is likely to be in the best interests of children, then making adjustments to avoid or mitigate negative outcomes and to maximise the benefits. Overseas experience points to a number of issues that need to be considered if child impact reporting is to be incorporated into government processes, including issues of governance, process, report content and sustainable institutionalisation. There are considerable barriers to introducing child impact reporting, but if its function and importance can be agreed upon, the details of process and structure can begin to be formulated.
Keywords: Normative and policy research, research and evaluation, policy guidelines