We know that the early years provide the foundation for a child’s future life chances. However, health and educational inequalities among young children persist – across social groups and between children with differing needs.
NCB wants every child to get the best start in life. We work with early years professionals and parents to help them give their young children every opportunity to develop, learn and thrive. We use our knowledge to improve national policy and law so that it puts young children and the quality of early years services first.
Healthcare which meets their needs and supports them to live their lives to the full.
This doesn’t always happen. Children’s health services are rarely a priority for an NHS struggling with an ageing population in a time of austerity. All this despite new research showing that the numbers of children with complex needs have risen by 50% over the past ten years and that more than 40,000 children with learning disabilities or autism were waiting to see a mental health specialist in 2016. Other groups of children such as those who are poor or in care are more vulnerable to physical and mental health problems.
NCB wants every child to have a healthy and happy childhood. We work with health leaders to ensure children – and their views – are at the heart of decision-making in health, and we pioneer new ways of working to promote healthy lifestyles and improve health services.
They are people with their own lives to lead and ambitions to achieve.
At the heart of our work is a belief that the goal for young people and their families is to acquire full citizenship. What we mean by this is that they will be accepted as fully valued members of society and be accorded the access and respect that goes with that. We know from the past and from some recent scandals such as the Winterbourne View, that when we allow the wider world to see our children as anything but fully human that abuse and discrimination occurs.
Every child deserves to grow up free from harm and in a stable and nurturing home environment, with the same opportunities to succeed as every other child. However, our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children need more intensive support to have the stable foundation that others take for granted.
Austerity, rising poverty and reductions in services for vulnerable children in recent years has seen increasing numbers of children and young people who only begin to have their needs met when their families reach crisis or they are put at risk of harm. This increasing demand is not only negatively impacting our most vulnerable children but is also impacting the professionals who work to make a difference in the lives of these children and families.