A group of more than 30 children’s sector leaders have today published an open letter launching a petition to ITV, and the other public broadcasters, to get one question to all party leaders included in the Leadership Debate next Thursday: ‘What will you do for children in care?’
Led by Children England, the membership body for children’s charities and voluntary groups, the letter says ‘This General Election should be the first in which the nation publicly asks its politicians how they will live up to their responsibility to be good parents for our most vulnerable children’
The long list of signatories includes David Holmes (Family Action) Matthew Reed (The Children’s Society) Javed Khan (Barnardos), the Earl Listowel (All Party Parliamentary Group for Children), and a wide range of leaders across the charity sector and wider.
Kathy Evans, CEO of Children England, said:
“Elections are a vital time in every democracy for voters of all ages and opinions to hear what their politicians would do on their behalf, if given the power to do so. We believe it is time that children in care, who depend directly on government but have no vote themselves, featured in that democratic examination and debate.”
“The strength of support among leaders for children shows the passion there is within the sector that supports and champions them. We hope our public petition will also show that ordinary people out there in the voting public also really care about children in care, and want to know what their politicians will do for them.”
1. The full text of the open letter is at http://www.childrenengland.org.uk/?p=8689. The public petition is at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ask-leaders-what-will-you-do-forchildren-in-care
2. Children England is the leading membership organisation for the children, young people and families’ voluntary sector. With member organisations working in all parts of the country ranging from small local groups to the largest household names in children’s charities, Children England is in a unique position to use the collective voice of the voluntary sector to achieve positive change for children. www.childrenengland.org.uk.
3. There are 68,840 children in care in England; 16,041 in Scotland; 5,756 in Wales; 2,858 in Northern Ireland.
4. The Commons Select Committee children in care report, 11 March 2015, criticised the Department for Education for a lack of leadership on children in care: “It has demonstrated an alarming reluctance to play an active role in improving services and securing a better future for this most vulnerable group of children”. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/publicaccounts-committee/news/report-children-in-care/.
5. The open letter and petition calling for party leaders to be asked ‘What will you do for children in care?’ is part of the Children at Heart umbrella campaign, which unites and amplifies all priorities for children in one simple demand for the next government to put children at the heart of decision-making. Further information is at www.englandschildren.org.uk.
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