We live in uncertainty. Our lives as we’ve known them, going out, seeing friends, going to college, are changed completely. We are scared and unsure and it is now, more than ever perhaps, that The Children Act and its key principles must be upheld.
One of the key principles of the 1989 Children Act is that the welfare of children must be the paramount concern when courts make decisions about us. This is not just a question of our physical health, but of our mental health, of our education, our wellbeing. We cannot delay on making decisions when every decision made will change our lives as we know them. We know and understand the risk that coronavirus poses to our generation and everyone’s lives, but when our services are being cancelled or moved onto the phone a few hours before they are due to take place, we are not feeling respected or cared about. We need to be consulted and talked to and made to feel like our voices matter, otherwise we will never do well.
Our schools and colleges were shut a few weeks before we all had major, potentially life-changing exams, determining our A-Level courses, our universities, our future jobs. They were cancelled, but we weren’t given clarity. Our futures were changed in a 5-minute speech, while still not giving us the answers that we need and were desperate for. Our lives are not things that can be put on hold, our futures are not something to be played with.
Our event to celebrate The Children Act may have been cancelled, but the principles are there. It’s time we are involved and listened to, now more than ever.
Bethan Hoggan, 16, is a member of the Young NCB Advisory Group.