A new report from the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, 'State of Children's Rights,' which has found that the Government is not doing enough to stop young children being:
- subjected to the use of Tasers and spit-hoods by the police or locked up alone in police cells for days on end
- forced to spend months living in squalid and overcrowded homeless accommodation that has not been vetted to make sure it is a safe place for children
- denied timely access to desperately-needed local mental health care when they reach emotional crisis point
The charity says thousands of England’s most vulnerable children are experiencing dangerous situations whilst political leaders look the other way.
Responding to the ‘State of Children’s Rights’ report, released today by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Prof Neena Modi, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:
“This comprehensive report shines yet another light on the fact that the health of children in the UK is not what it should be. The UK ranks poorly on many measures compared to Western European counterparts, so surely it’s long overdue for Government to wake up and start putting children first.
“This report makes it clear that poverty is a cardinal barrier to good child health. This was a theme also highlighted in our State of Child Health report earlier this year where on virtually all indicators, children from poorer households fared worse in terms of their health – whether obesity, oral health or admissions for asthma. When coupled with poor housing, these issues are exacerbated. We know of paediatricians who are unable to discharge children because of concern about housing or food insecurity.
“Mental health features heavily – with the report finding huge regional variation in waiting times for support for children and young people. And for those children that do get support, 70% with severe mental health problems are admitted to hospitals outside their local area – which can have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
“Government must get to grips with this crisis and a good starting point would be to reintroduce poverty reduction targets. However, there is a bigger problem here –the continuing constraints paced upon the NHS. Local authorities have suffered 40% cuts since 2010 and vital services such as smoking cessation, health visiting and breastfeeding support are disappearing. Investment in childhood makes strong economic and moral sense – and this report puts further pressure on Government to give children, and child health the attention and investment they deserve.”