Posted: 08 May 2015

The morning after the (election) night before

Yesterday the nation went to the polls, and while the votes are still being counted in some constituencies, it looks like it won’t be long before we have a new intake of MPs, a new Government and a new opportunity to make changes to improve children’s lives.

The issues facing the country’s young people haven’t changed overnight. When the new Government takes office, we will make a case for addressing some of the big issues that children will face over the course of the next parliament, and what new MPs should do to help them.

We’ve set out below some of the issues we will be talking to new MPs about.

Protect 16- and 17-year-olds

Children aged 16-17 are more likely than any other age group to be classfised as ‘in need’ because of abuse or neglect.

But too often the law – and agencies like the police or social services – treat these young people as adults and denied the same protections as younger children – that’s why we will continue to lobby for changes to extend the law on abuse and neglect to cover all children under 18.

Action to address youth homelessness

Each year around 12,000 16- and 17-year olds seek help from their local council because of homelessness. But despite being children under the law, they are too often turned away without receiving any help or even an assessment. We will campaign for them to be given the help that they need.

Support for children with mental health needs

According to the latest data, NHS spending on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) accounts for only 6% of overall spending on mental health services.

As we wrote in advance of this year’s budget, this has to be improved.

Better help for children fleeing war or persecution

Children fleeing war, violence and persecution must live on asylum support while their claim is considered.

At current levels, they face inadequate rates of support that push them into severe poverty. We will continue to make the case for better support for this extremely vulnerable group.

Stop the damage from problem debt

We will continue with the work of our Debt Trap campaign to end the damage that problem debt causes to children’s lives.

In particular, we will work with MPs to implement the findings of the Show Some Warmth and the Wolf at the Door reports, to protect children from the impact of energy debt and council tax debt.

End child poverty

All the main political parties have committed to meeting the legally binding Child Poverty Act target of ending child poverty by the end of this Parliament in 2020. We will hold the Government to account on this pledge, and will work with the End Child Poverty campaign to make the case for meeting this historic goal.

With your support, we improve children’s lives

Over the course of the last Parliament, we successfully lobbied for some major changes for the most vulnerable children in the country:

This parliament, we are determined to continue our work with parliamentarians to secure further policy changes, and sustainable reform of public services, to deliver real improvements in the lives of the most disadvantaged children.

By Matthew Reed - Leadership team