The YE-HA (Youth Economy) Bill
Fact Sheet: Reform of the Children’s Act
1. The Children’s Act 1989 recognised that the welfare of the child is paramount and set out an overarching system for safeguarding children and the roles different agencies play. It introduces the concept of consulting children and young people based on their age and understanding.
2. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 was ratified by the UK in 1991. It set out the principle for a legal framework to underpin all aspects for the care, development and education of all children. It sets out the first ever right to ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of association’, for children to meet and form associations.
3. The Government having considered over 30 public inquiries into child care since the 1970’s should adhere to these recommendations in both the Children Act 1989 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 legislations and these recommendations should now be built upon.
4. There is no central agency that expresses the child’s view-point on any issue of public importance that concerns children and young people directly. In fact most agencies pay mere lip service to consumer involvement and may just tick boxes to adhere to ‘freedom of expression’ legislation by using token representatives, from think tanks to government working parties. Children and young people do not run most if not all, child consumer organisations. Their governance is made up of senior adults often with establishment links. Many consumer child-care groups are reliant on government or other funding. This cannot allow them any freedom to express themselves.
5. It is time we act on children’s rights legislation as a matter of urgency. In the face of political resistance to investigating matters of historical abuse we may not ever be able to truly understand the magnitude to which children have suffered in the past. However for us to change the course of history currently, rather than wait on yet another public inquiry, we must be able to see and hear and firmly put the child in the public eye immediately.
6. Proposal to be voted on in this Bill is that each child has a pound each year, in sterling, to be ring-fenced for the twelve million children and young people in the UK from the Treasury. This will provide financial independence as a statutory right enshrining current law in practical terms, to meet and form associations and to have freedom of expression. It may in turn start to inform us the public of the wishes and feelings of the child in the UK preventing child abuse in the future.
Reference; UN Convention on the Rights of a Child 1989, Children Act 1989, Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005, Protection of Children Act 1999, Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, Adoption and Children Act 2002, Every Child Matters: Change for Children 2003, Children Act 2004, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006, updated 2010, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Childcare Act 2006, Education (Nutritional Standards & Requirements for School Food) Regulations 2007, amendments 2008, The Charter for Children’s Play 2007, updated 2009, The Play Strategy 2008, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2008, amended 2012, Equalities Act 2010.