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Put Children at the Heart of the Recovery

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widespread, affecting the lives of every baby, child and young person in the country. This generation of children face unprecedented threats to their childhoods and life chances. They deserve an unprecedented response. We call on the Prime Minister to announce that children will join health and the economy as the three pillars of the government’s coronavirus response.

Even before the onset of the crisis, child poverty was rising, school budgets were under pressure, waiting lists for mental health services were unacceptably long, and services supporting families and protecting children from abuse and neglect were at breaking point, stretched by rising need and reduced government funding.

Now, they are also a generation over which COVID-19 threatens to cast its shadow for years to come. Our children are in an eerie world, full of uncertainty. They do not know when they can go back to school. They worry about when they can see friends and family. They are anxious about family finances.

We know this uncertainty and worry will lead to anxiety and mental health problems.  We know closed schools will damage the educational attainment and life chances of children – the poorest, the most. We know Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities will be hit the hardest. We know there is no certainty about when the crisis will end and when we can see loved ones again. We know there is more financial hardship to come.

We are calling on the Government to embrace a new vision of childhood to support children, young people and their families to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The voices of children, young people and families must be at the heart of the recovery and rebuild process, and there must be renewed investment in the services and workforce that they rely on.

The Budget should be the start of a rescue, recovery and rebuild plan designed to prioritise, support and enable our children to thrive. We need an ambitious, radical plan that will be transformational for the generation of children growing up in today’s modern Britain. That will mean action and investment across Whitehall and in town halls, including: funding for early help services and public health; supporting innovation and integrated working, particularly with charities; dedicated financial support for children; support for early years settings and schools so attainment gains are protected; and unprecedented investment in children’s mental health. This must be accompanied by a commitment to protect children facing additional challenges, like those with disabilities, asylum seekers, abuse victims and those from minority communities.  

We will continue to play our part. In the weeks ahead, many of us will share with ministers and officials the key elements needed for such a recovery plan.

The government, understandably, has so far focused on the immediate health and economic consequences.  

It’s now time for the nation to put a strong, protective arm around its children, to stop childhoods being disrupted and life chances being derailed.  

LIST OF SIGNATORIES The Statement was coordinated by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC and The Children’s Society.

FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES: 4in10: London Child Poverty Network Achievement for All Action for Children Adfam Afasic Alström Syndrome UK Amaze Ambitious about Autism Anna Freud Centre Approachable Parenting Association of Mental Health Providers Association of Play Industries’ Association of Primary Mental Health Work and Training CAMHS Association of School and College Leaders ATD Fourth World Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile Barnardo's Batten Disease Family Association Become Beyond BF Adventure Body & Soul Bounce Forward British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Buttle UK Caritas Care Catch22 Centre for Research in Early Childhood Chailey Heritage Foundation Challengers Child Poverty Action Group Child Protection in Education Childhood Bereavement Network Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition Children England Children North East Children’s Rights Alliance for England CLIC Sargent Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies Coram CoramBAAF Daniel's Den Early Education Early Years Alliance Elevate Startup CIC Enthusiasm Escape Intervention Services Fair For You Family Action Family Fund Family Links Family Rights Group First 1001 Days Movement FNF Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities Fragile X Society Freedom from Torture Girlguiding Grandparents Plus Home-Start Hampshire Home-Start UK I CAN Include Me Too Independent Children's Homes Association Jigsaw4u Jubilee Debt Campaign Julia's House Just for Kids Law Kidscape Leap Confronting Conflict Mental Health First Aid England METRO Charity Mind Montessori St. Nicholas MumsAid NAPLIC NASS NASUWT National Children's Bureau National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) National Development Team for Inclusion National Family Mediation National Youth Advocacy Service Nepacs NSPCC One Education Ltd. OnePlusOne Ormiston Families Our Time Parent-Infant Foundation Partnership for Children Partnership for Young London Pecan Peeple PSHE Association RACC UK Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity; Redthread Rett UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists SAPHNA Savana Save the Children Scottish Out of School Care Network Sea Cadets SEND Community Alliance Sense Social Workers Union Speakers Collective Special Needs Jungle Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK Spurgeons Standing Committee for Youth Justice stem4 Step Up To Serve / #iwill StreetDoctors Sue Pattison Consulting Support Staffordshire Swings & Smiles TACT Fostering TACTYC Team Mental Health The Association of Child Psychotherapists The British Academy of Childhood Disability The British Psychological Society The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust The Childhood Trust The Children's Society The Children's Trust The Dorset Children's Foundation The Equality Trust The Fawcett Society The Fostering Network The Health Conditions in School Alliance The Matthew Elvidge Trust The Mighty Creatives The Mulberry Bush The Sleep Charity The Sleep Council Think2Speak Together for Short Lives Together Trust Triple P UK Unicef UK Way Ahead WellChild Winston's Wish Young Epilepsy YoungMinds Youth Access Youth Practitioners' Association

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