Children England – Parliamentary News

What Abouth YOUth?
Public Health England have released a further analysis of the 2014 What About YOUth? survey which examined the relationship between health behaviour and attitudes of 15 year olds with their reported levels of wellbeing. The analysis revealed:

  1. A clear link between wellbeing and affluence, with 15 year olds whose families were in more affluent groups and living in the least deprived areas reporting higher average wellbeing
  2. Young people who stated that they had a disability, long-term illness or medical condition reported lower wellbeing than those who did not
  3. Young people who engaged in behaviour which might harm their health such as drinking and smoking, having poor diet or exercising rarely, or who had negative feelings towards their body size reported lower wellbeing than those who did not
  4. Young people who described their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual or ‘other’ were more likely to have lower wellbeing than those who declared themselves heterosexual. On average these young people also reported lower life satisfaction and happiness, and higher anxiety

The report urged practitioners and commissioners of health, social care and education to use the findings to design services that will have the most impact on improving young people’s wellbeing.

£29 million extra to boost councils supporting child refugees
Councils in England will receive additional funding to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) and care leavers, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday. The funding aims to alleviate some of the pressures on local services such as housing, education and health services and fund projects that support vulnerable child refugees to integrate into their communities, for example by providing English language classes.

Councils to investigate state of the SEND system
As the April 2018 deadline approaches for the transfer of all children and young people with SEND statements to health, social and education care plans, councils have launched an investigation into the state of SEND system. Having expressed concern that rising demand for support for children and young people has not been mirrored by increased funding, councils are struggling to cope. The Local Government Agency task and finish group are expected to deliver their findings in September 2018.

County lines debate in Westminster
MPs in the Houses of Parliament will today debate county lines exploitation, the practice that has seen a growing number of vulnerable children and young people, many of whom are in care or at risk of abuse, groomed to deal drugs in rural and urban areas by criminal gangs. Tackling county lines is one of the government’s six key priorities within their End Gang Violence and Exploitation strategy.

Joan Ryan MP, leading the debate, called for the government to “put in place a national, interdepartmental and interagency strategy to tackle county lines and to protect vulnerable children and adults”.
Child protection concerns for homeless young offenders
HM Inspectorate of Probation has published its annual report finding that one in three homeless young offenders, aged 16 to 17 years, are placed in unsuitable and unsafe temporary accommodation by councils. The report blamed this on a lack of suitable accommodation or joined-up working between support agencies and professional’s tendency to treat this group of children as adults. Calling for an end to this practice, inspectors said greater recognition of this group’s needs as vulnerable children, the majority of whom have experienced trauma and being in care, was required.

In response, Alison Michalska, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said: “We take our duties to look after vulnerable young people seriously but finding suitable accommodation in the midst of a deepening housing crisis against a backdrop of falling budgets is the reality we face.”

Government launches £1.7 million fund to boost public service mutuals
Organisations that wish to create new or strengthen existing public service mutuals can apply for a share of up to £1.7 million, Tracey Crouch, Civil Society Minister, has announced. £1.2 million of the funding, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) department, will be available to provide access to advice across areas including legal, financial, marketing, human resources and business planning. The remainder will go towards pilot support programmes that promote collaboration between mutuals and voluntary and community organisations.