Strategy should include all children

The government children’s strategy should focus on all children
not just the vulnerable, according to a review published last

The review, commissioned by community development grant makers
the Gulbenkian Foundation, said: “The Children’s Strategy should be
universal in its scope, covering all children, not just the poor
and disadvantaged.”

“If universal services traditionally fail disadvantaged
children, the answer is not to turn away from those services in an
attempt to meet the needs of disadvantaged children,” it

The report said the social exclusion unit’s 1999 targets to
reduce school exclusions had resulted in a muddle where the unit
was focused on the needs of the excluded pupils while the education
system took greater account of the needs of children whose
schooling faced disruption.

But Martin Barnes, director of the Child Poverty Action Group,
said that it was not a case of either/or when it comes to putting
children first.

“The evidence shows that tackling poverty and disadvantage does
require more radical policies and a greater level of investment,”
he said.

The report also called for UK legislation to be brought into
line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the
establishment of a children’s commissioner for England.

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