The government should set up a children's commission to co-ordinate the services of various departments and agencies to ensure young people's voices are not ignored. A group of 24 children's concern organisations made the call yesterday to mark Children's Day. 'We now have the Education and Manpower Bureau, the Hospital Authority, the Social Welfare Department and many others offering services to children, but there is not much co-ordination between them,' said Chow Chun-bong, chairman of the Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights. 'Children's voices are often ignored. The government only imposes policies which they think are good for them, and it also does not have comprehensive data or studies about children in Hong Kong.' The 24 groups believe the commission should have the power to advocate and influence policies, conduct research on children's rights, co-ordinate government policies, investigate cases where children's rights have been breached and collect children's opinions. But more discussions are needed to decide the structure of the suggested body. One of the groups, the Society for Community Organisation, estimated about 360,000 children were living in poverty in the city and half of them were from families on government welfare. 'More and more children have to collect cardboard or work as cleaners to make some extra money for their poor families, and the situation became worse after the handover. We need a commission to better protect our children,' society social worker Sze Lai-shan said. Director of Against Child Abuse Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai said the global trend was towards establishing a children's commission. 'Compared with other developed countries such as England, Spain and Australia, Hong Kong is really lagging behind. We have commissions for women, teenagers and the elderly, but there is none for our children. We need to have a platform to collect views from our children,' she said. Social welfare legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said he would propose a motion demanding the government set up a children's commission in a Legislative Council meeting in May. A child development service and child protection will also be discussed at a Legco welfare panel meeting next Thursday.