Weekly News Bulletin 

Wednesday 23rd November 2022

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Children England News

Do you think the economy should work better for children?
So do we. Members of Children England and the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network are warmly invited to join our members forum next month to hear from economic experts and campaigners on their work towards an economy that supports people, protects the planet and distributes resources more sustainably. At this member-only forum, you can:

  • Hear about the Stop the Squeeze campaign for economic reform
  • Discuss why and how economic reforms could benefit children and families
  • Learn how to challenge current economic narratives, and specific tools to help you advocate for change (without being an economist!)
  • Bring your questions for our speakers Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women's Budget Group, and Tom Railton, Head of External Affairs and Programmes at the Economic Change Unit

You do need to be Children England or 4in10 member to attend, but you DON'T need to be an economist!

Date: Tuesday 13th December, 3 - 4.30pm
Free, online
Read more about the event and book your members' place here

How about attaching funding to legal duties instead of predictions of need?
"While councils call for long-term, sustainable funding in principle, and reports such as the Care Review suggest specific amounts of money needed to plug gaps in the immediate term, calls from those thinking about how this funding should be distributed focus on the need for councils to predict with more accuracy the future needs of children and families in their area – the better to ‘shape the market’ or otherwise invest in services – as though anticipating families’ needs is an exact science. In fact, councils are involved in changing the lives of children and families right now, whereas predicting how they might evolve is the result of an infinitely complex interplay of human characteristics, environmental changes, service responses and indeed the actions or inaction of the local authority itself.

Read the full article by our Policy and Communications Manager Chloe Darlington in the MJ today.


Government and Parliamentary News 

The rights and safety of children seeking sanctuary in the UK
Two parliamentary evidence sessions took place this week that will be of interest to many in the children's sector, on issues that Children England members are extremely active in their contributions to: The Human Rights Committee is taking evidence on the human rights of asylum seekers in the UK until 15th December.

Statistics: children looked after including adoptions
The Department for Education has published new figures showing how many children were in care and adopted in the year to March 2022, which was 82,170 in total, 2% higher than in 2021. Within this total:
  • 2,950 were adopted (up 2% from 2021)
  • 5,570 children were unaccompanied asylum seeking children (up 34% on last year)
  • 31,010 children became looked after (up 9% on last year)
  • The number of placement moves experienced by children in care during one year has remained broadly stable over the past five years
  • The group most likely to experience three or more placement moves within the year was children detained for child protection
  • The proportion of care leavers 'staying put' after their 18th birthday increased slightly from 60% last year to 62% by 2022
Statistics: education and training in the UK
The Department for Education has published the latest statistics showing how many pupils were in UK maintained schools, as well as numbers of teachers and students in further and higher education.
  • There were 10,028,578 pupils state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in the 2021 - 22 academic year: an increase of 78,700 from 2020/21
  • There were 563,831 full-time equivalent teachers, an increase of 6,500 from 2020 - 21
  • Whilst the number of pupils increased in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, pupil-to-teacher ratios across maintained schools remained very similar to last year suggesting the increase in the number of pupils has been offset by the increase in the number of teachers
  • The percentage of 16–24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) in April to June 2022 was estimated at 10.4%. This is up 0.1 percentage points on the previous quarter and up 1.0 percentage points compared with April to June 2021, but down 0.6 percentage points compared with pre-COVID-19 levels (October to December 2019).

Sector News and Publications

What does care look and feel like for 16 and 17 year olds?
The #KeepCaringTo18 campaign wants to know what care looks and feels like to 16 and 17 year olds, to help influence government policy. The views of all 16 and 17 year olds are sought, no matter where in England they live. Please encourage every 16 and 17 year old you know to join this action, and send the survey link to everyone who might be able to help!  

Children's charities urge the government to enact the Online Safety Bill
The Telegraph has reported on a letter from the Children's Coalition, a group of 39 charities concerned that the Online Safety Bill, introduced by the government before summer but now delayed, must be enacted to preserve children's safety online. The group says:
"First and foremost the Online Safety Bill must tackle the drivers of harm to prevent tragedy. However, when tragedies do occur there must be a humane and streamlined process so that no bereaved family is prevented from accessing information like the Battersbee, Janin, Thomas and Russell families were who simply tried to find out what their child was going through at the time of their death. No company should be able to hide from regulatory oversight or formal inquests when there is a reasonable suspicion that their service played a part in the death of a child."

The cost of fostering in the cost-of-living crisis
The Fostering Network warns that foster carers, hit by the cost-of-living crisis, struggle to afford looking after the children in their care. The allowance they receive, which is supposed to cover the cost of looking after a young person, is not sufficient and with the rising cost of living, many face difficulties to make ends meet.  

In new research the charity calculated the real cost of looking after a child in foster care and is calling on all governments across the UK to up the allowances foster carers receive to ensure they cover the full cost of caring for a child.  

The mental health of young people after the pandemic
New research published by UCL and the Sutton Trust looks at the mental health and wellbeing of young people after the pandemic, compared with before it. It finds that 44% of 16 - 17 year olds in England report elevated psychological distress, 9% points higher than the 35% reporting distress at age 17-18 in the Our Future cohort study (2017) and 21% points higher than the 23% at age 16 -1 7 in the Next Steps cohort study (2007). It also finds:

  • Higher proportions of elevated psychological distress were seen among those who reported having long COVID, bad/’severe long COVID’, or who had to shield during the pandemic. For instance, 66% of those with severe long COVID, which largely affected ability to carry out daily activities, reported high psychological distress.
  • 44% young people with a parent who has high psychological distress also report high distress, compared to 30% of those with a parent who does not report high distress.
  • Half of the pupils from comprehensive or grammar schools rated their school’s mental health support as ‘not very good’ or ‘not at all good’ compared to just a quarter of those attending independent schools.
  • Half of young people said that they are now less motivated to study and learn as a result of the pandemic, with those who reported high psychological distress 31% points more likely to say so (68% compared to 37% of other participants).

Guides for education professionals concerned about sexual abuse
The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse has published two new resources for schools and education professionals, designed to support them to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in communicating with children and parents and carers when there are concerns about sexual abuse or behaviour. They complement Safety planning in education: A guide for professionals supporting children following incidents of harmful sexual behaviour published in September 2022.  

  • Communicating with children: A guide for education professionals when there are concerns about sexual abuse or behaviour
  • Communicating with parents and carers: A guide for education professionals wen there are concerns about sexual abuse or behaviour

Savana launches a new digital support service for young people
Talk to SAL (Support. Advice. Live chat) is a new national service that has been designed to provide easily accessible digital support for young people. This confidential service provides a range of online support including; anonymous live chat, advice & information about topics like: healthy relationships, consent, staying safe online, peer pressure, bullying & exploitation, mental health, gender identity & sexuality as well as additional practical support, signposting, downloadable self-help resources and more. S.A.L is available free of charge to anyone under the age of 25 who needs support or would just like someone to talk to.

Talk to SAL also offers specific drop in sessions for parents & carers and professionals to offer advice on supporting a young person and collaborates with schools, colleges, universities and other wellbeing organisations providing digital drops in and open forums.

New service providing international legal advice for child protection and family legal proceedings
Children and Families Across Borders is launching a new, free service providing international legal advice for family law and child protection proceedings. After launching its Legal Advice Service last year, CFAB has seen how important legal advice from experts based in other countries and jurisdictions can be to the outcome of a proceedings, and how much it can impact the best interests of a child.  

For that reason, CFAB is now providing an International Legal Advice Service, to bridge the gap between UK family law and child protection proceedings with an international element. To ensure the best interests of children in these proceedings and to support the people working to protect them, it has developed this service based on its expanding partnerships with lawyers in different countries, who can help provide expert reports for use in child protection proceedings in UK courts. 

Young Lives Vs Cancer is recruiting young people to its new Voice Board
Young Lives Vs Cancer is creating a new board to help people with lived experience inform its work and future direction. For the Voice Board, it's looking for people diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 16 and 24, or who are a parent / carer of a young person who was diagnosed between the ages of 0 and 24.

The Voice Board will be there to help Young Lives vs Cancer’s Trustees and Directors to make decisions about the charity. The Voice Board will be made up of 10 members – five young people (aged 16 - 24) and five parents / carers from across the UK. You don’t need to have lots of professional experience but it is important that you are willing to support Young Lives' values – being brave and confident, having integrity and being part of Team Young Lives – while bringing your own unique voice and self to the Voice Board.

Further analysis of the Autumn Statement
Several civil society organisations have published further analysis of what last week's set of new fiscal measures from the Treasury means for households and the charities that support them.

Sector Vacancies

At Become
This role is #OpenToAll

Evidence and Impact Officer
Contract: Full time, permanent
Salary: £28,840
Location: Hybrid working, open to flexible arrangements
Deadline: 9am on Monday 28 November 2022

If you are passionate about research, you love collaborating with others, and you want to make a positive difference to the lives of care-experienced young people, then this might just be your dream job! 

This is a new and really important role for Become – we want to grow our research and evidence base, and ensure that analysis of insights from across our work with care-experienced young people is at the heart of our policy-influencing approach.

If you think you can do the job well, and bring passion, creativity and enthusiasm to the role, then we want to hear from you!

At Just for Kids Law

Interim Director of Youth Advocacy and Participation
Contract: 6-month fixed term contract (with the possibility of becoming permanent)
Salary: £51,250 - £56,375 pro rata
Location: Angle, London (hybrid working)
Deadline: 27th November 2022
JfKL are looking for a skilled interim Director of Programmes and Participation to continue developing their youth advocacy casework and their youth opportunities and youth participation work, as well as maximising their impact for young people. Working closely with their CEO and senior management team, the Director of Programmes and Participation will play a key role in ensuring that strategic objectives are achieved. Through an inclusive leadership approach, the Director will work with a dedicated staff team to develop and deliver new plans that develop JfKL's support, as well as ensuring an integrated approach for young people across the organisation.

Peer Education and Participation Worker
Contract: 18-month fixed term contract, full time
Salary: £28,700 - £32,800
Location: central London
Deadline: 3rd January 2023
The Peer Education Participation Officer will develop and deliver a new Peer Education initiative focused on the housing rights of Care Leavers. This aims to reach, inform and mobilise a wider cohort of care experienced young people, and the smaller organisations that support them, to understand and respond to homelessness and housing issues experienced by care experienced young people and care leavers. 

Events, training and consultancy services

Member-only forum: campaigning for an economy that works for children
Date: Tuesday 13th December, 3 - 4.30pm
Free, online
NB: This event is for organisations who are members of either Children England or the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network.

What if the UK economy valued the services and spaces families need - the parks, nurseries and community centres; the public transport infrastructure and clean air - and invested in them accordingly? What if wages and taxation ensured that no one lived below the poverty line, and no household had to cope with precariousness? What if, in short, the economy supported children and the planet they live on to thrive?

Join Children England and the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network to hear from economic experts and campaigners on their work for an economy that supports people, protects the planet and distributes resources more sustainably. At this member-only forum, you can:

  • Hear about the Stop the Squeeze campaign for economic reform
  • Discuss why and how economic reforms could benefit children and families
  • Learn how to challenge current economic narratives, and specific tools to help you advocate for change (without being an economist!)
  • Bring your questions for our speakers Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women's Budget Group, and Tom Railton, Head of External Affairs and Programmes at the Economic Change Unit

Children England member forum: Supporting Muslim-heritage children in care
Date: Thursday 9th February 2023, 11am - 12.30pm
Online, free
NB: this event is for Children England and 4in10 London Child Poverty Network members only.

Join us to hear from My Family Group on their new report, Muslim Heritage Children in Care: Supporting Identity and Wellbeing and discuss how the children and families voluntary sector can play our part in improving support for Muslim-heritage children in care. Muslim-heritage children in care are entering a system which doesn’t acknowledge the key role their faith, cultural, and linguistic background plays in their identity. The report makes recommendations including:
  • anti-racism, cultural competency and faith-sensitive training to be implemented across the care sector
  • uniform systems to capture faith data across the care sector
  • better faith-sensitive support for carers of Muslim-heritage children in care
  • more joined-up, collaborative and strategic working between the care-sector and Muslim organisations
  • commitment to support the mental health of Muslim-heritage children in care
We do hope members will take this opportunity to learn about how the care system can better support children from Muslim backgrounds, and discuss how we can all contribute to improving their experiences and wellbeing.
For Children England's current events calendar please
click through to our website.

Up to date lists for our training services are also online, as is a price list for the courses you can request from us. 


(new consultations and inquiries are marked in *bold*):

Closing 25th November 2022
Fundraising Regulator: Code of Fundraising Practice review

Closing 15th December 2022
Joint Committee on Human Rights: Human rights of asylum seekers in the UK

Children England's news bulletin is produced weekly and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in children and families policy.

If you or your organisation have new research, campaigns or policy development in children and families work that you'd like us to share, send us the details and we'll include it in Children England News.
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