Children Firstpolitics in the best interests of the child

 

Will your organisation endorse the following statement?

CALL FOR A CABINET MINISTER FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE 

‘What sort of society are we becoming when four and five year olds are starting school unable to utter more than a few words, understand basic instructions or even use the toilet?’ (‘The Daily Mail’, 1st June, 2018).

Ofsted Head, Amanda Spielman, categorises children as either born ‘lucky’ or facing ‘disadvantage right from the start … unable to follow what’s going on. Unable to keep up with their classmates. Unable to reach their potential.’

Menaced by five 21st century ‘evils’

  • obesity and physical inactivity
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • rising mental health issues
  • dominance of social media and screen time influence
  • socioeconomic disadvantage and cultural/ethnic divde

Our children may become the least healthy adult population in living memory.

We need an authoritative voice within the Cabinet to bring all these issues together and devise solutions that will be more than just firefighting on an individual policy front and so we call upon Government to appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People.

Need to know more? A full supporting document is available from https://royalpa.co.uk/children-first/ 

Please let Phil know by email if we can add your name to the list of endorsements.

Launch of the APPG Report 'Mental Health in Childhood' - June 2018

An All-Party Group dedicated to finding ways to improve children’s health and wellbeing has called for a positive approach to the Government’s Child Mental Health proposals.

Publishing its 10th report (sponsored by the National Counselling Society, and giving a speech at the launch alongside our Children and Young People Ambassador Kate Day): ‘Mental Health in Childhood,’ the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood described the Government’s green paper on Child Mental Health as ‘a work in progress,’ and said it should be strengthened by: 

  • Championing early intervention  rather than relying unduly upon expensive later-stage crisis services
  • Ring-fencing funding for antenatal, postnatal and early years’ mental health provision for children and their parents
  • A properly funded CAMHS with statutory referral times and a national in-school counselling service staffed only by professionally accredited counsellors on an Accredited Register
  • Compulsory initial training and ongoing CPD for all teachers and other professionals dealing with the mental health of children and young people
  • The Designated Mental Health Lead in schools to receive guaranteed remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the post
  • Government to initiate dialogue with media concerns about the screening of potentially inflammatory and contentious material; combined with Government regulation of social media where appropriate for child safeguarding purposes
  • Speedy, responsive new services for students/apprentices embarking upon an FE place, degree or mix of work and training who currently ‘fall between’ sources of available provision
  • Mental health service funding to reflect the needs of culturally diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities
  • Inter-Departmental collaboration on child health and wellbeing ideally co-ordinated and audited by a Secretary of State for Children, heading a Department for Children and scrutinised by a new Select Committee.

Introducing the report, APPG co-Chair, Baroness (Floella) Benjamin said:

‘We welcome the green paper and some of its core recommendations such as early intervention and counselling services in schools, but green papers are necessarily ‘works in progress.’

Our report shows that there is much more to do. Now, all people and organisations who care about children’s mental health must help to make the forthcoming legislation as good as it can be by supporting the ideas outlined in our report and especially concerning the internet and smart phones,  funding essential school counselling services and ensuring that we don’t have services in some parts of the UK forced to play ‘ catch up’.  We agree with the Education and Health and Social Care Committees that this challenging policy area should be supported by new initiatives and co-ordination across government.

The ‘new initiative’ that we propose is the creation of a Department for Children, headed by a Secretary of  State with responsibility  for cross Departmental audit and held to account by a new Select Committee.’

We believe the report helps to highlight key issues that need to be dealt with when considering any implementation of new policies by governement. We hope this report will be widely shared in order for as many people as possible to be aware. The report has also been covered by the following page online 

 

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