A dummies guide to helping children

Posted by James Blair / Tuesday 17 December 2013 / The Red Book Early intervention

Our boss, Dame Clare Tickell is leaving this week. In her final Huffington Post blog post she points out that:

“If we are unable to help a child as soon as difficulties emerge, we run the risk of issues escalating out of control. There must be a stronger, more consistent emphasis on early intervention services, with long-term funding plans in place for this support.”

Obvious, right? Well no.

As Clare points out: “During the past year we have seen children needing more support with issues their families are facing than ever before.” There are even big figures to prove it:

  • 56% of our staff say children are in need of more support because of their parents' inability to find enough work
  • 54% saw children struggling more because of parental mental illness
  • 30% said children needed more help because of parental substance misuse

So there are more problems for children. That’s bad. What’s happening to stop that?

“Budgets for early support - support that could help their families avoid reaching a crisis point, where drastic action, such as taking children into care, must be taken - are disappearing.”

Hmm. Ok. So more children are likely to have more problems aren’t they?

The answer is yes and as Clare puts it:

“While Action for Children has seen this before - belts tightening, services squeezed, and children bearing the brunt - this repetition must not lead to complacency. Rather, it should strengthen our resolve to act.”

I agree. And that’s why we campaign. For budgets to be shifted to early intervention services. To raise the age at which young people can leave foster care. To update the 80 year old law which doesn’t cover emotional neglect.

We can’t do it alone though and we always need your help. As Clare puts it: “our resolve to ensure the most disadvantaged children have better lives remains a constant, enduring mission.”

It is and we hope it’s yours too.

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