sir tony hawkhead
Moving from home to home can really affect a child's social skills, educational outcomes and employment prospects - impacting on their mental health and exacerbating any existing behavioural and emotional issues. We know first-hand the challenges these young people face, they have often experienced the worst in life, which means it can take several moves before they find the right foster carer to meet their specific needs.
In January, David Cameron spoke about children's early years and the role of parents, calling it "the most important job we'll ever have". He took some flak for suggesting that parents deserve more support than we currently give them, but he was right. Focusing the Government's passion for improving life chances into a national programme to improve our children's development should be an open goal for the Prime Minister. I don't want him to hesitate and fluff his chance.
This week marks the latest campaign highlighting the need for more foster carers to come forward to provide supportive and loving homes to the thousands of children in the UK who have often experienced the worst in life.
Every parent knows that hectic schedules juggling work, school, after school sports and playdates can limit quality family time. Even when we do have free time at home, with so much centred on our smart phones, televisions and tablets, parents and children can easily pass like ships in the night.
The families I spoke to were far from gloomy, however: they told me that with a disabled child, Christmas is sometimes different, but that doesn't mean it can't be loads of fun.
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.
The Government needs to put children and young people at the heart of its policy-making and consider how it is going to meet all of their needs. Giving all young people a fair chance to achieve their potential means recognising that some will need more help than others.
Parents have told us they're planning on having a lie in. But I'm sorry to have to tell you parents that the lie-in is not an option as your children want to use this extra hour by having fun! That is why today Action for Children is urging you to say no to the boring snooze-in and instead to make the most of your extra hour by having fun with the children...
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.
Millions of children face a bleak future, neglected, homeless and living in poverty because help isn't getting to them and their families soon enough. Spending time and money on preventing a problem early on can avoid greater cost, effort and future harm.