A coalition of more than 70 child welfare organisations and experts are calling on the government to transform children’s lives in the UK with a series of pledges they hope ministers will address during the general election.
The 30 pledges include ensuring children in care are not dislocated unnecessarily from their families, removing the ‘reasonable chastisement’ common law defence so that children have the same protection from assault as adults and incorporating the Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law.
The document, which is entitled Together For Children, is comprehensive and touches on issues faced by vulnerable children, care leavers, young offenders and families struggling with poverty and homelessness.
It is an excellent set of pledges.
The announcement was made yesterday on coalition member Article 39’s website.
In the press release, Carolyne Willow, Director of children’s rights charity Article 39, said:
“Children have no vote but what’s promised and delivered through this general election will have a massive impact on their lives, happiness and future. We want to see children and their rights at the heart of manifestos – not the odd mention here and there but a systematic strategy for making our country among the best in the world for children’s rights. Five years can make or break a childhood, so the weeks ahead really matter.”
Kathy Evans, Chief Executive of Children England, also added a statement:
“Over the thirty years since we signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, government policy affecting children has been increasingly fragmented, and departments have struggled to co-operate on a shared, holistic vision for children’s wellbeing. These pledges set out a thorough framework that all departments can use to ensure children are at the heart of policy-making.”
Coalition members include Children England, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, the National Youth Advocacy Service and the Association of Lawyers for Children.
Individual coalition members include Ian Dickson, Chair of the Conference for Care Experienced People (retired) and children’s rights campaigner, Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England 2010-2015, Brid Featherstone, Professor of Social Work, University of Huddersfield and Dr Julia Brophy, Independent Research Consultant and Principal Investigator – Family Justice.