Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children's Bureau said:
'Today's concluding observations from the committee highlight the uncomfortable truth that currently, not all children in this country are able to enjoy the human rights they are entitled to. The UK should be the best place in the world for children to grow up in, yet these findings show that we are falling short of the mark.'
'Government must commit to finding solutions which reflect their stated desire to improve children's life chances and ensure that the rights of all children are being met. Not least, they must protect the Human Rights Act, which is essential for safeguarding children's universal human rights. We would like to see the government appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children to put children firmly at the centre of government decision making. As recommended by the committee, the government must develop and implement a child rights action plan and ensure a cross-government focus on the impact policy decisions have on all our children whatever their circumstances.'
Looked after children and care leavers: mental health
'Currently, the right to good health and healthcare is being undermined for those children in or leaving care, who are already at increased risk of poor physical and mental health. NCB strongly welcomes the committee's recommendation for rigorous CAMHS strategies which pay particular attention to children in care. We would like to see the corporate parenting principles, introduced in the government's Children and Social Work Bill, extended to those overseeing health services, ensuring that every child in the care system has the very best support to address their physical and mental health challenges.'
PSHE and sex and relationships education
'Young people tell us time and again that they want better teaching on essential topics which prepare them for life. The committee rightly calls upon government to ensure that children in all schools have access to age-appropriate sex and relationships education. PSHE must be a statutory part of a whole-school approach to promoting well-being if we are to guarantee all pupils their right to vital lessons which prepare them for adulthood.'
'Poverty has a fiercely detrimental effect on children's health, learning and enjoyment of life and is one of the major barriers to the fulfilment of children's rights in this country; with unacceptable levels of inequality found across health, education and childhood development. As recommended by the committee; the government's forthcoming life chances strategy must include actions to address the unacceptable numbers of children growing up in poverty in this country and combat the persistent gap between rich and poor.'
Children with learning disabilities in Assessment and Treatment Units
'The committee rightly calls for a human rights based approach to improving the experiences and outcomes of disabled children.
'In the five years since the Government stated its commitment to reducing the numbers of people with learning disabilities and/or autism in assessment and treatment units (ATUs), the number of children in these settings has in fact increased. There are currently 165 children and young people receiving in-patient treatment in an ATU in England, often far from home, with many experiencing hands-on restraint or seclusion.
'As a matter of urgency, the government must fulfil their commitment to ensuring that no child with learning disabilities and/or challenging behaviours is placed inappropriately in an in-patient ATU. Those in need must instead have access to early intervention services and support close to home.'
Children in Police Custody
'NCB supports the committee's recommendation that government move quickly to prevent children in mental health crisis being detained in police custody. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children, supported by NCB, which carried out an inquiry into the relationship between children and the police found that this was happening all too often and highlighted the need for better mental health services and facilities for these vulnerable children.'