26 Nov 2019

Responding to the Conservative Party manifesto, Director of Policy and Research for The Children’s Society, Sam Royston, said:

“The children’s care system needs urgent review and reform and we are encouraged to see the Conservatives’ commitment to do so. This must focus on greater early intervention to prevent children from being taken into care, action to reduce the number of children placed far from home, regulation and inspection of semi-supported accommodation and better support for unaccompanied refugee and migrant children.

“We’re also pleased to see that a Conservative government would end the benefit freeze, alongside this they should provide ring-fenced support for families facing financial crisis.

“We welcome new funding for youth services, a commitment to funding the Troubled Families programme and the pledged £1bn uplift to social care, but significant investment is urgently needed to deliver local services that keep children safe and help them to thrive.

 “The party’s approach to tackling county lines should not only strengthen the NCA’s response but also prevent children from being targeted and provide greater to support to children and families ensnared by criminal gangs, which must be an urgent priority for the Victims Bill. Similarly, tough talk on school discipline must be balanced with better pastoral support for children, including in-school access to counsellors, and work to avoid exclusions, which we have seen can make children more vulnerable to criminal gangs.

“We would like to see greater ambition for the next generation to grow up happy and healthy, a commitment to measuring and publishing the wellbeing of children in the UK and creating policies that will improve it.”