What does the Queen’s Speech promise for children?

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Today, the Government’s legislative programme for the year was announced. Amongst the sparkling coronets, red robes, banging of sticks and shouting of archaic pronouncements, was a short speech, given by the Queen. It included several important measures that will affect many of the children we work with.

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Children and Social Work Bill (England)

According to the Government, this legislation will see:

  • adoption procedures speeded up;
  • greater clarity on the entitlements of young people leaving care;
  • the right for all care leavers to have a personal adviser to the age of 25;
  • a new social work regulator to focus on training and professional standards;
  • and a duty on councils and schools to promote educational achievement for adopted children.

 

"We believe this is a great opportunity for the Government to make it a core principle of our care system to help children and young people recover from past trauma and promote their emotional wellbeing."

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Most people we speak to are surprised it’s not already. In order for this to make a real difference, it’s essential that we measure children’s wellbeing so that we when they are doing well in care.

Favouring adoptions and speeding up the process is one option, but the quality and stability of care is the most important consideration. We believe this can also be achieved through foster care, residential care or special guardianships.

We’ll be working as part of the Children in Care Alliance to get the best possible legislation for children in care.

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Life chances measures (UK)

The Queen announced “new indicators for measuring life chances”. The Government created the initial set of measures of ‘life chances’ in March.

At the moment, these are whether parents are in work and exam results at 16.

The Government has said it also wants to take into account family breakdown, debt and substance misuse. These are all important, but by introducing one more measure – the number of children reaching good levels of development by age five – the Government can shift the way national policy supports children’s futures. 

How children grow and develop in the first years of life has a huge impact on their future chances. How we do at school, the success of our relationships, our health, our earning potential, even how confident we are at being parents ourselves, are all affected by our formative years.

"By offering support to parents today that is affordable, non-judgemental and sensitive, we could make a huge difference to our children’s life chances tomorrow."

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