Thirty years after the UK signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which set out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights children should enjoy, Coram’s Call for Change highlights where, all too often, children are falling through the safety net that a civilised society should aspire to.
It sets out realistic calls for changes to policy, law and practice that will transform lives and create better chances for children, in areas that include rights and justice, education and families and early years.
Dr Carol Homden, Coram CEO, said: “Since 2016, the focus of policy makers on all sides of the political divide has largely been on the process of leaving the European Union, but little progress has been made over that time in making the lives of children better. Children and young people have too little say in their own future. Their voices often go unheard. We call on this new parliament to make their interests and welfare a priority.”
Changes that Coram is calling for over the coming years include:
- Incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law;
- A child rights impact assessment to be undertaken prior to the introduction of any primary or secondary legislation;
- A commitment to government-funded legal advice for all children;
- Enshrining the right to an independent advocate in laws for all children and young people in the care of the state;
- A commitment to funding the Adoption Support Fund until the end of the next Public Sector Spending Round;
- Reinstating the requirement for Ofsted to inspect local authority fostering services;
- Introduction of an outcomes framework for children’s social care with local authority data published annually by the Department for Education.
Dr Homden continued: “Every day we work for children, whether through direct delivery of services such as legal services, life skills education in schools, or by advocating on their behalf, and ensuring children who may be in care are undocumented or otherwise at risk get the support they need. The children we work with often tell us that their own voices aren’t being heard when policy makers make the decisions that affect them.
“Our Call for Change sets out what children and young people tell us needs to happen to achieve positive change. We worked with partners to make a real difference to children’s lives as a result of our 2018 Respected and Protected manifesto, and commit to doing the same with the calls in today’s Call for Change.”