More than half of professionals believe Labour has let children down

More than half of social care professionals believe the
government has performed poorly on children’s policies for
young offenders, children in poverty and young asylum seekers, an
exclusive pre-election poll for Community Care has found,
writes Maria Ahmed.

The survey of just over 1,000 professionals painted a
challenging flipside to the government’s much-trumpeted
‘war on yobs,’ revealing a failure to protect
vulnerable children at the receiving end of populist policies.

A staggering 65 per cent of professionals rated the
government’s policy on prevention of youth offending as poor,
while 56 per cent gave a similarly low rating to the treatment of
young offenders. Almost half also ranked the government’s
flagship antisocial behaviour policy as poor.

A majority of professionals said the government’s
performance on child poverty was poor, and one third believed the
treatment of child asylum seekers had worsened since 1997.

However, views on children’s services were divided, with a
majority of professionals rating them as good, but only two per
cent rating them as excellent and nearly one third rating them as

One third said Sure Start services were likely to improve when
Sure Start comes under local authority control in 2006, but four
out of 10 believed it would get worse.

Looking to the future, social care professionals’ hopes
were strong, with 60 per cent predicting the Children Act 2004 and
Every Child Matters would have a positive impact child protection.
Almost half believed the policies would also benefit the life
chances of vulnerable children.

Around 9 out of 10 social care professionals hoped the first
children’s commissioner for England Al Aynsley-Green would
have a positive impact on the rights of children.

Community Care surveyed 1096 social care professionals
on a range of election issues. Further results will be released be
released in the weeks ahead.

For what the parties are planning, see this week’s
Community Care (14 April 2005).


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