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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

ADCS response: Queen’s Speech 2022

Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“Children should be at the top of the government’s agenda. However, for years Brexit and more recently the pandemic has dominated government’s time, attention, and its legislative programmes. The focus on children, children’s rights and children’s services was limited in the Queen’s speech, therefore, some urgent issues remain unaddressed.

“We welcome the government’s ambition to level up society, however, this will ring hollow without investment in children, the full range of services they rely on and the issues many of them face - in particular early help and family support services that can prevent problems becoming more serious. Today, millions of children live in poverty, this is damaging the lives and life chances. Rising food and energy costs will only make things harder for many children and their families. Now more than ever we need a child poverty reduction strategy, England is the only country in the UK without one.

“We are pleased education was a focus of today’s Queen’s speech. The Schools Bill reaffirms many commitments already made by the government, including for all schools to be part of a strong, multi academy trust, and a register of children not in school. A register in and of itself will not keep children safe, but it is an important step in helping us to find out the number of children being educated other than at school and identifying children who are vulnerable to harm. In addition to this, a duty will be placed on local authorities to support home schooling families, any such duty would need to be fully funded and reflect the size of this growing cohort. Catering to the needs of all learners and inclusivity must be at the heart of the government’s new education reforms if all children are to benefit, whatever their needs, wherever they live. We look forward to working with government and others as the Bill progresses.

“Most mental health problems begin in childhood so ensuring children get the right help and support at the earliest opportunity is crucial. For too long children have been facing long waits to access help and support with many being told they are not ill enough, or too ill to access local services. Furthermore, the pandemic has created a tidal wave of need for adequate mental health support for children. We await further detail on the draft Mental Health Bill, at present it is unclear whether the draft Bill will include children and young people’s mental health services – a system which is ripe for review.”

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