A sweet little toddler sits up on an exam table in a doctors office as her female doctor conducts a routine check-up.

Calls for children to be put at heart of policy

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has announced the publication of an updated policy position paper that delves into the current challenges faced by children and their families.

This updated paper comes seven years after ADCS published its A Country that Works for All Children paper, which explored what challenges families and children faced in 2017, as well as submitted a number of recommendations to the government. The announcement of the new policy paper has brought news that many of the solutions that the organisation suggested have remained unaddressed by government.

By illuminating the changes that have occurred since the 2017 report, the new paper – Childhood Matters – is acting as a call to arms to urgently make sure that the outcomes of children and families are put at the centre of policy and decision-making, whilst ensuring investment to address funding gaps. The need for additional funding comes with the almost 50% real-terms reduction in funding for local government, and the fact that councils all over the country are facing budgetary shortcomings worth around £4 billion.

acds children report quote

President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, John Pearce, said:

“It is clear that children’s needs, rights, and outcomes have not been prioritised in recent years. The cumulative impact of government policies on them, their families and the public services that support them is growing. The impact is evident from underinvestment in school buildings, the allocation of new funding via competitions to insufficient action on rising levels of child poverty, mental distress, and blatant profiteering by some private providers of children’s homes.

“During the pandemic, pubs reopened before most pupils returned to school and even where there is significant planned investment in childcare, for example, the driver is getting adults back into work rather than children’s outcomes. What message does this send about our priorities as a country and how we value children in society?”

In response to the paper, the Local Government Association issued the following response from Cllr Louise Gittins, Chair of the Children and Young People’s Board:

“When children are safe, healthy, happy and receive a good education, they are more likely to go on to successful adulthoods.

"However, as this paper highlights, current support and services for children and families are fragmented making it difficult to ensure that national and local partners are working together effectively.

"To give all children the opportunity to fulfil their potential, we would like to see a cross-government commitment to children, ensuring that every department plays its part in creating good childhoods.

"Councils must also have the right powers, levers and resources to deliver the joined-up local support that their communities need.”


Image credit: iStock


PSE April/ May 2024

Alarming decline in UK costal water quality

Dive into our latest edition for April/May 2024!


More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of public sector leaders responsible for procurement and strategy across local authorities and the wider public sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for leaders of industry to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation.

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

Public Sector Executive Podcast

Ep. 53 Compassion and Co-operation - Dr Nik Johnson

For the 53rd episode of the Public Sector Executive Podcast, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, spoke to host Dan Benn about some of the most important issues facing his region, as well as what drives him as a leader.