Why It's Important To Celebrate International Children's Day Every Day

01/06/2017 16:44 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 16:44 BST
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Last week there was Biscuit Day, next week there's Tetris Day and seemingly every week there is a day to mark something.

But one day that stands out for me from all these lighter hearted subjects is International Children's Day, which celebrates the rights and wellbeing of youngsters.

As Chief Executive of the UK's leading children's charity, I recognise the need for children to have fundamental rights and the opportunity to be healthy and happy every single day.

The one core purpose that has always defined us as a charity is our mission to help the most vulnerable children and young people through our 1,000 services across the UK.

We speak up for those who have no voice, who society has forgotten and who were never known about in the first place.

We help them to believe they are valued, they are loved and they are cared for.

With our help they learn they are just as important as anyone else and can make their own impact on society.

They stand the best chance of this if they have a stable home and happy childhood and we believe this is every child's right.

But sometimes a child's family is unable to provide this and they need the support of a loving adult who can look after them.

That's why fostering and adoption services are a core part of our work - as the love and support of foster carers and adoptive parents give disadvantaged youngsters a much better chance in life.

Sadly, looked after children are more likely to leave school with fewer qualifications, be at higher risk of offending, become a teenage parent and not be in education, employment or training.

That's why it's so important they have safe and suitable accommodation up to the age of 21 so they can have some stability and security in their lives.

The Government's own figures show that nearly one in five care leavers aged 19 - 21, either live in unsuitable accommodation or there is no record of where they are living.

Also in need of help are more than 195,000 young carers who should have a right to a childhood but are forced to grow up too soon looking after a loved one.

Unsurprisingly, many of these children and young people are deeply affected by their role and struggle to juggle their home and school life.

We feel it's important that the needs of young carers are recognised every day and they get the help they require, including getting support they are entitled to from local authorities so that their caring responsibilities can be reduced.

Then there are more than 200,000 children in the UK who are separated from parents serving time in prison.

From the moment of arrest, these children can face immense social and emotional trauma, including isolation, poverty and family breakdown.

We believe these vulnerable children have the right to be protected and when a parent goes to jail it is important to ensure it's not also a sentence for the child.

Keeping the family bonds is crucial and we work with five prisons in England and Wales, running visit centres, family days and parenting programmes that strengthen family relationships and help prepare for the return home too.

Ensuring children are supported is crucial to Barnardo's and why we believe tackling the mental health crisis in the UK is so important.

One in three pupils in a classroom will have a mental health condition, according to a study by the charity Place2Be, but it's thought the scale of the issue is underestimated.

We support these children through services ranging from work in schools, where youngsters learn it's okay to talk and ask for help, to trauma focused practice.

Through all our work we make them realise there is help out there, not just on International Children's Day but every day.