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For many young people managing money can be confusing but many of us are lucky enough to have the safety net of friends and family to help us get to grips with the challenges. For vulnerable young people, who may face difficult family relationships, are in and out of care or have nowhere permanent to live, not having basic budgeting skills can leave them "just coping" to get by.
The keys to our success are our amazing foster carers. They do a fantastic job providing the love, care and support needed by children and young people who have too often had a very tough life. The stability those foster carers provide can make a huge difference to the futures of the children they support, in so many ways: in education, health, career, family life.
Child neglect has been staring us in the face for too long. Headlines relate the tragic stories of children who grow up shockingly deprived and, in extreme cases, die because of neglect. These children not only lack basic essentials like nutritious food and adequate clothing, they also lack the love, support and warmth that every youngster needs to thrive.
With hope, the Government's publication of the Savile reports will emphasise the importance - to children, adults working with children and those who may have suffered abuse in the past - of both listening and speaking out. No one should face the terrors of abuse alone.
Emotional wellbeing is fundamental to every stage of a child's life - from starting school to entering adulthood - but a shocking number of young people are suffering from mental health problems and not receiving support to fulfil their potential. Action for Children recently conducted research revealing no signs of improvement for these children, with 91% of professionals working with vulnerable young people in our services seeing levels of mental health problems either rising or staying the same over the past year.
Childhood is short. And maybe like me, you remember longing to be grown up because of the freedom and adventure we perceived adulthood brings. But for some of our most vulnerable young people, adulthood is thrust upon them too soon.
Every day, we work with vulnerable children, many of whom have experienced or are at risk of child sexual exploitation. This horrific abuse has affected a number of children supported by our services, whether related to risks to those in residential or foster care, or to young parents receiving our help. Awareness must be raised and professionals, children, and their carers must be educated about the risks around exploitation, as well as ways to guard against it.
Children who may be suffering or who are at greater risk of neglect, but whose circumstances do not reach an authority's threshold to receive social care support, are less likely to get the help that they need. Instead, their situations can be allowed to deteriorate to become even more desperate or dangerous. It is a tragedy that due to a lack of gathering the right information, children whose lives could be improved are needlessly put at further risk. Child neglect can be stopped in its tracks.
Emotional neglect is a clearly defined form of child abuse, with studies throughout the world evidencing its detrimental impact. As Robert Buckland recently said in New Humanist magazine, this law change is about tackling 'the systematic terrorising of children by parents who make their lives a living hell'.
Whatever the merits of an overall cap on welfare spending and however it is going to work, it's clear that on its own it's not enough. This debate on welfare and poverty is taking the focus from where it is most needed - helping vulnerable children and their families.