Government must invest in children’s & youth services

Leading children’s charities and local councils have called on the Government to urgently close the funding gap facing children and young people’s services as new research reveals a sharp rise in families reaching “crisis point”.

An open letter signed by five major organisations warns that children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with a £2bn funding gap expected to open by 2020. It urges ministers to “step up” and use the Autumn Budget to invest in vital services in order to save youngsters from serious harm.

The signatories, which include Barnardo’s, Action for Children and the Local Government Association (LGA), state that between them they have “spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services will have long term consequences” for the UK’s children and families.

The letter, comes as a report by three leading children’s charities reveals “crippling” central government cuts have left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” fire-fighting model.

Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the report shows. Central government funding for children and young people’s services has seen a real terms decrease of £2.4bn in that period, while local authority allocations for these services has fallen by £1.6bn.

At the same time, there has been a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations, as demand for council help soars.

The research, from The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, also reveals stark geographical discrepancies, with the most deprived councils in England having cut spending on children’s services by almost a quarter (23 per cent) – six times as much as the least deprived councils.

The open letter to ministers reads:

“Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

“We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.”

It states that the number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013. The organisations also highlight that local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365m in 2014/15 just to keep children safe, and a huge £605m the following year.

The letter adds:

“Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services – particularly those services that help children early – that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives”

“Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the Budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.”

The number of young people subject to child protection enquires increased by 140 per cent – to 170,000 – in the past decade, according to research by the LGA earlier this year.

A separate study more recently revealed that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for this “unprecedented surge” in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.

 

 

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

The origins of Halloween

Watch this fab video about what Christians did on All Hallows Eve, and why:

It’s interesting to see that the origins of Halloween were celebrating the power of Jesus in the face of evil and death, and mocking all things ‘dark’.

 

Halloween – No Trick or Treat

If you do not want to be disturbed by trick or treaters this Halloween, download and print out a copy of the “No Trick Or Treat” poster by Hampshire Constabulary to display by your front door.

Every year Hampshire Constabulary’s force control room receives calls from people who have been frightened or disturbed by trick or treaters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Some advice for the elderly or vulnerable members of our community staying home this Halloween:

  • If you do not know who is calling at your house, you do not need to open the door.
  • Try to see who is at the door by looking through a spy hole or window before opening the door.
  • If you have a chain on your door – keep this in place when opening the door.
  • If you feel threatened in your home, please contact the police.

Polichampshire-constabulary-no-trick-or-treate advice to children and their parents is to be mindful that some of the more vulnerable or elderly members of the community do not wish to participate in Halloween activities and in fact may feel intimidated by groups of people calling at their doors.

Hampshire Constabulary has prepared some advice for children and their parents:

  • If your child is going outside in a costume – make sure they are wearing reflective clothing or add reflective tape to their clothes.
  • Carry a torch and consider road safety at all times.
  • If your child is going out trick or treating – make sure they go out in a group, preferably accompanied by an adult.
  • Older children should let you know where they are going and what time they will be back.
  • Children should carry a mobile phone in a pocket or bag.
  • Make sure your children know not to enter anyone’s house or to accept lifts from strangers.

Greg Stier on Halloween

Greg Stier writes on Halloween = Satan’s Birthday Party?:

Last year my boy asked me, “Daddy, is Halloween Satan’s birthday party?” I laughed out loud and said, “No. Satan doesn’t have a birthday party because Satan was never born. He was created by God”…A little crash course in angelology for my sweet little boy.

There’s all sorts of opinions floating out there about whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween. Some side with the Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to this holiday (hell-i-day?) and choose not to celebrate in anyway whatsover. Others gather at local church Harvest Festivals for games, candy and holy fun. Still others dress their kids up and march them door to door to celebrate with the pagan tots.

What’s the trick to surviving this treat filled holiday with your faith in tact? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Don’t be a legalist …

2. Use it as an opportunity to engage others with the gospel …

3. Give lots of candy to the neighborhood kids.

If you are a believer in Jesus then you should be overly generous when your doorbell rings. Give fistfuls of candy, not a breathmint taped to a gospel of John.

All the neighbors should know you as the candyman (or woman) during Halloween, as opposed to the family who turns off the porch light, hunkers down to do Bible trivia with their kids while listening to Bill Gaither music cranked up loud to drown out the doorbell as it rings again and again and again.

The only thing worse than being stingy with candy at halloween is leaving a gospel tract at a restaurant with no tip in it. If you represent Jesus then you should represent generosity as well. Sure, leave the tract but put a 20% tip in there as well…or more.

So this Halloween, give them tots lots of treats, cavaties and love. Don’t be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good…and candy bars.

What do you think?

Stranger hailed ‘hero’ after helping Farnborough autistic child on train

The mother of a five-year-old boy with autism has hailed a young man a “hero” after he stepped in to help calm her son during a difficult train journey.

Gayna Pealling hailed Daniel Ball, 21, from Farringdon, “my hero” after he distracted her son Jack when he became distressed on a train to Farnborough.

She posted images on Facebook of Mr Ball playing with Jack, which have been shared hundreds of times.

The pair have since began campaigning to raise awareness of autism and ADHD.

Ms Pealling, a single mother from Farnborough, Hampshire, was travelling home from Portsmouth when her son Jack began having a “meltdown”.  She said:

“I can’t thank Dan enough for what he did that day.  Strangers just think my child is misbehaving but it is just his condition. I got a lot of bad looks from a lot of people on the train – which didn’t help the situation.”

Dan helped distract Jack, who was shouting and swearing, by asking him to come and draw with his sister Amy, Ms Pealling added.

The pair have since set up a campaign to help raise awareness of the condition with the help of Mr Ball’s mother Barbara, who has worked in the special needs sector since 1976.

Mr Ball also has a fundraising page for the National Autistic Society which has already exceeded its £1,000 target.  He said:

“I thought that, as people have taken the time to like and share the post with the photos of me in, they might be able to share a few pounds and – hopefully – we can make a bit of a difference”

The team has created badges which say “The Rescuer” and “Come to my rescue” which they are urging people to wear on public transport to help bring attention to parents with autistic children who may need help.

Mrs Ball, said:

“Judging by the response to Gayna’s Facebook post, most parents would be grateful for a smile, a nod or a word of support or even an offer to help in an extreme situation such as Gayna and Dan found themselves in.”

CrossTeach banned from Church primary school for being ‘extremist’

A primary school in Kent has cuts its ties with a Christian group after parents complained of religious extremism and claimed children had been distressed by comments about gay marriage and a demonstration of “God’s power” in assemblies.

Dan Turvey, the headteacher of St John’s Church of England primary school in Tunbridge Wells, told parents in a letter that he was ending invitations to the charity CrossTeach to lead school assemblies and take lessons, after what he called a campaign by parents.

One parent said children were being told ‘they would not go to a good place when they died’ if they did not believe in God, according to the Telegraph, and another said her son had been told ‘men can’t marry men’, according to the Guardian.

The parents group said in a statement:

‘We recognise and respect the school’s Christian values but think there is a brand of Christianity that is abusing that respect. The basis of [our] complaint relates purely to concerns over the welfare and safeguarding of children who we believe are being exposed to potentially damaging ideology.’

In a letter to parents on Monday Turvey said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to be severing ties but acknowledged children had been ‘upset and disturbed emotionally’.  He wrote:

‘After careful consideration I have decided that we will end our regular commitment to CrossTeach and that they will no longer lead assemblies or take lessons.’

But he added: I do not believe CrossTeach has done anything wrong.’

He said the group would continue to run a voluntary after school club. ‘They do not deserve the tarnishing of their good name and allegations of extremism that have taken place over the last few months,’ he told parents.

One parent who asked not to be named said:

‘I didn’t pull my mine out because overall I think it would do more harm than good to segregate them.

‘But I do know some of the children have been upset by what they have heard. No one minds Nativity plays and Bible stories but considering most of the parents at the school aren’t practising Christians I think the feeling is that it’s all too much.

‘In Tunbridge Wells the vast majority of primary schools are affiliated with the church so it’s not like you have a choice whether you expose your children to this.

‘Personally I want my children to learn about all religions. If you want them to be raised as Christians there are plenty of Sunday schools.’

But Turvey hit back at the parents’ complaints and said: ‘It is my view that the use of social media can be destructive and counterproductive. In this case I believe that the damage caused by the use of this media will take a very long time to repair.’

He added ‘relationships have been soured and trust eroded’, telling parents ‘the past few months have been stressful, tiring and a distraction from our focus’.

Wayne Harris, the national director at CrossTeach, said the group was a charity and worked with schools under constant supervision, observing school policies and national guidleines, where applicable. He added:

“Whilst we note the strong comments made by Mr Daniel Turvey, Headteacher, in support of our workers and activities, Crossteach is very disappointed that, after 16 years of supporting the school, our work will no longer be available to young people at St Johns CE Primary School, Tunbridge Wells.

“Wherever possible we work in partnership with local churches and we reflect their teaching, always aiming to be sensitive to the local context, and recognising that churches vary. We teach mainstream Christianity.

“In 16 years of Christian schools work no teacher has ever raised a concern that something has been said that could be interpreted as in any way ‘hateful’ or ‘extremist’.”

Want to join the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Youth Commission?

The Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, is seeking volunteers aged between 14 and 25 years old to help give young people a voice on the crime and policing issues that matter to them most.

The purpose of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Youth Commission is to make young people part of the solution to tackling crime and improving policing, rather than being seen as part of the problem. It is made up of up to 50 young people aged between 14 and 25.

The Youth Commission currently has four priorities:
• Mental Health
• Hate Crime
• Cyber Safety
• Unhealthy Relationships

Youth Commission members identify the issues that young people are concerned about most and gather opinions on what the specific concerns are and ideas on how to tackle them. They also work to raise awareness and educate young people via campaigns, such as this year’s #GoFISH cyber safety campaign, run workshops, speak at events and take part in a range of other activities.

Members of the Youth Commission gain a variety of skills, meet and work with a range of people, learn about different issues that are relevant to them and their peers and get to be part of some great youth orientated events – this year members have attended festivals, youth conferences and summer activity schemes.

If you are interested is applying (or know someone that maybe interested) then please complete the online application form by 03 November 2017 which can be found here . This is the first part of the two stage application process.

Applicants that reach the second stage will be invited to an assessment evening week commencing 20th November. Applicants with experience of the police and criminal justice systems, as an offender, victim or any other interaction are welcome to apply.

Award in Community Development

Are you involved in volunteer or paid community development work?  This is a chance to gain skills and share ideas and experiences with other people and earn a certificate.

The course is suitable both for people who are volunteers or who are just starting out in a community development role, leading to a CPD certificate at Level 2 or even Level 3. The Level 3 is suitable to people with existing experience as a community development worker.

Six Friday sessions – 9.45 – 2.45pm:

  • 12, 19 January
  • 2, 9 and 23 February
  • 2 March

at the Swaythling Neighbourhood Centre, off Broadlands Road, Southampton, SO17 3AT

Fees depend on your income. For more information or to book please call 023 8067 1111  or email  ichambers@twics.org.uk

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling opens up about books’ Christian imagery: ‘They almost epitomise the whole series,’ she says of the Scripture Harry reads in Godric’s Hollow.

Youth Court Protocol – what’s new?: The MA Youth Court Protocol was originally developed in 2003 as additional guidance for magistrates on the practices and processes of the youth justice system, but it has evolved to be a useful resource for all those who come into contact with the youth court.

Applications for grants to support British Science Week 2018 are now open: There are three grant schemes available to support British Science Week (9-18 March 2018) activities: one for schools, one for community groups (including youth clubs), and one for BSA branches.

Poor white boys are the new oppressed: Trevor Phillips, ex-head of the Commission for Racial Equality, writes a fascinating article on how recent statistics shows “every chance that while the Sikh teenager will one day turn into a highly skilled doctor, the grime-music obsessed African sixth-former will become a pin-striped lawyer, and that mathematics-nut Chinese GCSE student will end up a tech entrepreneur, the best that your average working-class white boy can hope for is a part-time job in an Amazon warehouse.”

These 4 reasons are why youth workers are leaving the church: James Ballantyne blogs on why he believes youth workers are leaving the church – this is essential reading for church leaders.