About 6,000 UK children and young people die every year. Around two-thirds of these are aged under-five, and the majority are under the age of one. The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for deaths in this age group. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health recently launched a report about these deaths rates and concluded that the risk of such deaths was highest amongst the poorest families in the Country.Research indicates that the differences in life outcomes for children born into the poorest families are far worse than those born into the wealthiest families in the UK.
Interesting, around this time, David Cameron sought to come out as being an "evangelical Christian", and criticising those who did not share his beliefs. While the last census in 2011 showed that just over 59% of the population in the UK self-identify as being of a Christian faith, it did lead me, as a lapsed Catholic, to ask: What exactly does he mean?
Helping the most vulnerable children is a daunting and complex task, and there will be disagreements about how to do it. But to move forward we need to keep the child at the centre, build on the progress children's centres have made and use it to make sure all children get the best start in life, healthy and supported at home.
Barnardo's believes that the scandal of child poverty in this country will only be tackled when action is taken to improve both the income and the access to services that the poorest families have. We know that money matters to the poorest families - especially when rising living costs, stagnating wages, a weak labour market and spending cuts are placing more pressure on them than ever before. Many families in poverty in the UK live on just £12 per person per day after housing costs. That £12 has to stretch to cover everything: food, electricity, water, gas, bus fares.