NYAS has played an instrumental role in the development of 30 General Election Pledges, launched today by Together for Children, an alliance of organisations and individuals focused on promoting a rights-based children’s social care system.
The pledges, which NYAS helped to shape, are designed to support Together for Children’s mission to uphold the principles and legal protections contained within the Children Act 1989 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). They are intended to provide politicians with a blueprint for change – enabling the incoming Government to give the most help to the children and families in the greatest need.
As 2019 is the 30th anniversary of the Children Act and the UNCRC, 30 pledges have been presented by Together for Children – all of which would have a transformational impact on the lives of care-experienced children and young people, along with their families and carers.
In the run-up to the general election on 12 December 2019, Together for Children will lobby the UK’s leading political parties to include the pledges in their manifestos. NYAS Head of Policy and Research, Ben Twomey, is actively taking the pledges directly to parliamentary candidates and their political parties.
Resonating strongly with NYAS’ own mission and ongoing campaign work, the pledges include measures to:
- Incorporate the Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law.
- Ensure no child is forced to live many miles from home unless this is in their best interests, and their wishes and feelings have been given due consideration.
- Ensure every child has access to an independent advocate so their wishes and feelings are understood and taken seriously.
- Ensure semi-independent supported accommodation is subject to registration,regulation and independent inspection, and that providers are required to safeguard and promote each child’s welfare.
- Ensure individuals who were formerly in care have priority for assessment for support services including housing, mental health and drug and alcohol services, and finance local authorities to provide ongoing support for careleavers for as long as they need it.
- Invest in ‘active offer’ independent advocacy services across all public services, for all age groups, so that those in need do not stand alone.
NYAS Chief Executive, Rita Waters, said, “These pledges reinforce our own campaign efforts, such as our calls to strengthen children and young people’s advocacy services through Advocates 4U, or our demand, as part of our Missing the Point campaign, that no child is forced to live ‘out of area’ unless it is in their best interests.
“The measures relating to mental health reflect the aims of a new campaign we’re launching soon and the calls we have made in parliament for the mental health of care-experienced children and young people to be made a Government priority going forward.
“By putting our weight behind one clear set of demands, Together for Children is sending a clear message to politicians that the sector is united in recognising changes that need to be prioritised. Ultimately, we want to ensure that the voices of care-experienced children and young people are heard and acted upon, and with these pledges there is no excuse for any future UK Government not to really hit the ground running.”