Barnardo’s urges Gordon Brown to believe in children

Incoming prime minister Gordon Brown was urged today to invest faith in children or lose a generation as a new poll revealed one in four adults believe disruptive 13-year-olds are beyond long-term help.

Charity Barnardo’s warned that children have never been so widely dismissed as being beyond help, worthless or feral, and launched a campaign to demonstrate that even those with the most difficult problems can be helped.

The newspaper, radio and poster campaign is launched alongside the poll, which also found that two-thirds of adults believe children are more criminal now than ever before, despite the fact there has been a substantial drop in youth crime since 1995.

Barnardo’s chief executive Martin Narey said: “How did it happen that we have become so dismissive of children? Some children’s behaviour is unacceptable and it has to be challenged but we must not use that as an excuse to write off a generation.

“As we enter a new political era, with a new prime minister, we ask the new PM: do you believe in children, or will you too dismiss them as feral yobs?”

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