Put children at the heart of the recovery


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widespread, affecting
the lives of every baby, child and young person in the country. This
generation of children face unprecedented threats to their childhoods
and life chances. They deserve an unprecedented response.

We call on the Prime Minister to announce that children will join health and the economy as the three pillars of the government’s coronavirus response.

Even before the onset of the crisis, child poverty was rising, school
budgets were under pressure, waiting lists for mental health services
were unacceptably long, and services supporting families and protecting
children from abuse and neglect were at breaking point, stretched by
rising need and reduced government funding.

Now, they are also a generation over which COVID-19 threatens to cast
its shadow for years to come. Our children are in an eerie world, full
of uncertainty. They do not know when they can go back to school. They
worry about when they can see friends and family. They are anxious about
family finances.

We know this uncertainty and worry will lead to anxiety and mental
health problems.  We know closed schools will damage the educational
attainment and life chances of children – the poorest, the most. We know
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities will be hit the hardest.
We know there is no certainty about when the crisis will end and when we
can see loved ones again. We know there is more financial hardship to

We are calling on the Government to embrace a new vision of childhood
to support children, young people and their families to recover from
the impact of COVID-19. The voices of children, young people and
families must be at the heart of the recovery and rebuild process, and
there must be renewed investment in the services and workforce that they
rely on.

The Budget should be the start of a rescue, recovery and rebuild plan
designed to prioritise, support and enable our children to thrive. We
need an ambitious, radical plan that will be transformational for the
generation of children growing up in today’s modern Britain.

That will mean action and investment across Whitehall and in town
halls, including: funding for early help services and public health;
supporting innovation and integrated working, particularly with
charities; dedicated financial support for children; support for early
years settings and schools so attainment gains are protected; and
unprecedented investment in children’s mental health. This must be
accompanied by a commitment to protect children facing additional
challenges, like those with disabilities, asylum seekers, abuse victims
and those from minority communities.  

We will continue to play our part. In the weeks ahead, many of us
will share with ministers and officials the key elements needed for such
a recovery plan.

The government, understandably, has so far focused on the immediate health and economic consequences.  

It’s now time for the nation to put a strong, protective arm around
its children, to stop childhoods being disrupted and life chances being


The Statement was coordinated by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC and The Children’s Society.


4in10: London Child Poverty Network

Achievement for All

Action for Children



Alström Syndrome UK


Ambitious about Autism

Anna Freud Centre

Approachable Parenting

Association of Mental Health Providers

Association of Play Industries’

Association of Primary Mental Health Work and Training CAMHS

Association of School and College Leaders

ATD Fourth World

Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile


Batten Disease Family Association



BF Adventure

Body & Soul

Bounce Forward

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Buttle UK

Caritas Care


Centre for Research in Early Childhood

Chailey Heritage Foundation


Child Poverty Action Group

Child Protection in Education

Childhood Bereavement Network

Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

Children England

Children North East

Children’s Rights Alliance for England

CLIC Sargent

Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies



Daniel’s Den

Early Education

Early Years Alliance


Elevate Startup CIC


Escape Intervention Services

Fair For You

Family Action

Family Fund

Family Links

Family Rights Group

First 1001 Days Movement


Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities

Fragile X Society

Freedom from Torture


Grandparents Plus

Home-Start Hampshire

Home-Start UK


Include Me Too

Independent Children’s Homes Association


Jubilee Debt Campaign

Julia’s House

Just for Kids Law


Leap Confronting Conflict

Mental Health First Aid England

METRO Charity


Montessori St. Nicholas





National Children’s Bureau

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)

National Development Team for Inclusion

National Family Mediation

National Youth Advocacy Service



One Education Ltd.


Ormiston Families

Our Time


Parent-Infant Foundation

Partnership for Children

Partnership for Young London



PSHE Association


Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity;


Rett UK

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists



Save the Children

Scottish Out of School Care Network

Sea Cadets

SEND Community Alliance


Social Workers Union

Speakers Collective

Special Needs Jungle

Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK


St. Matthew’s Project

Standing Committee for Youth Justice


Step Up To Serve / #iwill


Sue Pattison Consulting

Support Staffordshire

Swings & Smiles

TACT Fostering


Team Mental Health

The Association of Child Psychotherapists

The British Academy of Childhood Disability

The British Psychological Society

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

The Childhood Trust

The Children’s Society

The Children’s Trust

The Dorset Children’s Foundation

The Equality Trust

The Fawcett Society

The Fostering Network

The Health Conditions in School Alliance

The Matthew Elvidge Trust

The Mighty Creatives

The Mulberry Bush

The Sleep Charity

The Sleep Council


Together for Short Lives

Together Trust

Triple P UK

Unicef UK

Versus Arthritis

Way Ahead


Winston’s Wish

Young Epilepsy


Youth Access

Youth Practitioners’ Association

Put children at the heart of the recovery

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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