In response to the King's Speech 2023, NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) Group Chief Executive, Rita Waters, said:

“All children should be given every opportunity possible to thrive and enjoy their childhoods. Yet with millions of children growing up in poverty, experiencing mental health difficulties, and more children than ever in care, we know this is not the case.

The King’s Speech was the UK Government’s opportunity to present a bold and ambitious vision for transforming the lives of children and young people throughout the country. Instead, the Government’s plans lacked the drive and innovation needed to improve their lives. Little was mentioned on how the Government plans to tackle the growing number of children growing up in poverty.

Reform of the Mental Health Act was a key recommendation of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child following its examination of the UK earlier this year. Yet no commitment was made by the Government to introduce a Mental Health Bill to reform the Mental Health Act, despite this commitment having been made.  

The independent review of children’s social care in England was hailed as a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to transform children’s social care. NYAS is disappointed that planned reforms for children’s social care under the Government’s response to the care review were excluded from the King’s speech.

Over 82,000 children are in care in England alone. NYAS calls on the Government to commit to showing children and young people that they care, pursuing reforms needed with ambition. At NYAS, we will always be on the side of the child.”