The Children’s Society has called for a greater understanding of the needs and well-being of teenagers, after a report by UNICEF reveals that the UK has moved off the bottom of a league table of child well-being, but still sits in a lowly 16th place.
Lily Caprani, Director of Communications and Policy at The Children’s Society, said:
'The first decade of this century saw things get better for children in the UK. But this new report backs up our own research and shows we still have a very long way to go. At any point in time there are hundreds of thousands of children in the UK who are unhappy with their lives.
'There are significant areas that are holding us back and worrying signs that we are jeopardising the small progress that we have made. The UNICEF figures do not take into account the full effects of the economic downturn and recent cuts to services for young people. And we know that cuts to welfare support will push hundreds of thousands more children into poverty.
'We are particularly concerned about low well-being among teenagers identified in the report. It is far too easy to assume that teenagers aren’t as vulnerable as younger children or don’t need as much support. By just dismissing teenagers with low well-being as ‘difficult’, we don’t recognise the huge pressures they are under or that we can do something about it.
'We know from our work with vulnerable young people across the country that all too often negative attitudes towards teenagers stop them getting the support they need. They are dismissed as troublesome or having themselves to blame, rather than being recognised as the vulnerable children they are.
'Only by putting the well-being of children at the centre of decision-making will the UK be able to make the dramatic – and critical - improvements in child well-being that we need and children deserve.'
For more information call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4423 or email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
- The Children’s Society’s Good Childhood Report 2013 found that half a million children across the UK are unhappy with their lives.
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.