Newly elected MPs in the West Midlands have been urged by The Children’s Society to prioritise tackling child poverty and teenage neglect. The national charity, which provides services and campaigns for disadvantaged children and teenagers, has produced tailor-made reports about the state of children’s welfare in each constituency, to arm the region’s MPs with local facts and statistics to help them make a difference in Parliament.
The reports focus on a range of issues related to child welfare, including child abuse and neglect, youth homelessness, mental health services for young people, child poverty and inequality, school uniform costs and family debt.
Matthew Reed, the charity’s chief executive, has written to each MP saying: “The Children’s Society believes every [child] should have the opportunity to flourish… However for too many children, issues from mental health problems to homelessness and family debt reduce their well-being and limit their life chances. This report is designed to give you some key facts about the lives children facing the greatest vulnerabilities in your constituency, and the key issues affecting them.”
Mr Reed adds: “We hope that you will work with The Children’s Society over the coming Parliament as a champion for vulnerable children.”
Early campaigns that the charity is prioritising include seeking a change to the law to make sure 16- and 17-year-olds are given the same protection from abuse and neglect as younger children. It is also calling on MPs to press Government to provide proper funding for children’s mental health services, set out concrete plans to meet its legal obligations to end child poverty by 2020, force schools to keep uniform costs affordable and make sure all low-income families are entitled to free school meals.