Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Smart Money event with Action for Children

We were invited by Action for Children to attend a reception for parliamentarians today at Portcullis House, which is opposite the House of Parliament in Westminster. Working with other children’s charities, Family Action and Children England, they were launching a document called “The Smart Money” which promotes the importance and value for money of early intervention in challenging the injustices and hardships that some children and families face.

The event provided an opportunity to talk to a large number of people, including former President of Conference, Rev Will Morrey, Faith Communities Advisor for Action for Children, Pam Chesters, Chair of Trustees and Jane Stacey, Director of UK operations for Barnardo’s.

Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children, highlighted the fact that there are around one million children at risk of intergenerational deprivation and neglect, which means children are at risk of repeating the same poor experiences of their parents with respect to educational failure, poor health, social isolation, drug abuse, crime and financial hardship. The charities were encouraging MPs to seek cross-party agreement on promoting early intervention to help solve the problems of the most deprived children and families, and a commitment to long-term policies and funding. They also accepted that money can be used smarter to get better value in these difficult times.

I spoke with staff and volunteers from Action for Children’s Wheatley children’s centre in Doncaster, which has now been running successfully for 10 years. They exemplified what could be done, and I was particularly pleased to see they were developing projects with local Dads.

New government minister with responsibility for Children and families, Tim Loughton MP, was among a large group of MPs who attended the event. He praised the work of Action for Children, whose resources he had used regularly during his time in opposition, and he was equally impressed by the “Smart Money” document. He stressed the important role that charitable and voluntary sector bodies will play in the future as the new government’s policy is developed.

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