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Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

A year of successes and challenges

Firstly, can I start by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members and everyone involved in the work of the ADCS. Our amazing staff team, those who chair and attend our policy committees, members of our Council of Reference and Board of Directors and all those who work tirelessly in the regions; your work and contribution to the life of the ADCS is greatly appreciated and without it the Association would be a pale imitation of what it is. The greater people’s involvement, the greater our reach and influence becomes. I guess it is inevitable at this time of year to reflect on what has gone before and what’s to come and although it’s a season of hope, it also helps to travel with a big sense of realism.

One of the joys of this year has been visiting the regions and looking at the enthusiasm and drive that is being put behind Regional Improvement Alliances (RIAs). As we have moved through the shadow year we have grappled with some knotty issues but I feel that we are in a good place before we come together to review progress at our Policy Seminar in February. At the end of the day, RIAs will be rightly judged by the difference they make to the lives of children and their families up and down the land, but the early signs are encouraging.

The other big issue we have kept returning to is that of the money and this will continue to follow us into the New Year. As an Association we have been clear in stating there is simply not enough in the system to meet the level of need in our communities that we are having to respond to. The Safeguarding Pressures Phase 6 report was a stark reminder of this which showed significant increases in activity at a time of rising child poverty. I am often left wondering, what do families crammed together in Bed and Breakfast accommodation, reliant on their local food bank, make of the Christmas adverts on TV? I fear the reaction is too often to increase levels of household debt so that it isn’t their child that feels they are missing out. It is for these reasons we will continue to campaign for sustainable funding now and into the New Year and champion the needs of children.

I am not sure we have got any closer to our policy aim of this being a country that works for all children but it remains an ambition we will continue to pursue and, with your continued help and support, one I sincerely hope we will achieve.

Merry Christmas,


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