Woodcraft Folk Endorses Call For A Cabinet Minister For Children

Thursday, 18 October 2018
Ofsted Head, Amanda Spielman, categorises children as either born ‘lucky’ or facing ‘disadvantage right from the start ... unable to
follow what’s going on. Unable to keep up with their classmates. Unable to reach their potential.’ Our children may become the least healthy adult population in living memory, severely affected by five key issues:
  • obesity and physical inactivity
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • rising mental health issues
  • dominance of social media and screen time influence
  • socioeconomic disadvantage and cultural/ethnic divide

We need an authoritative voice within the Cabinet to bring all these issues together and devise solutions that will be more than just firefighting on an individual policy front and so there is now a call upon Government to appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People. Children First is co-ordinating sector-wide support for this call and Woodcraft Folk have voted to put our support behind this campaign.

A strong voice for children at Cabinet level would work in the same way that the interests of women are served by the current Cabinet Minister for Women and Equalities. Similarly, a Minister for Loneliness at Cabinet level has been in post since July 2018. The breadth and depth of some existing barriers to a fit and healthy childhood would merit the appointment of a full Secretary of State supported by a dedicated Department and Select Committee, but this type of structural change cannot be achieved overnight.
Yet, in so many ways children cannot wait and neither should they. They need help now and therefore taking significant action in the short term must be considered to be not only desirable but essential. The current junior Ministerial post for children is not an insignificant role either by intention or scope. However, children’s needs will always elude pigeon-holing because they are not confined to a single issue or even one policy set. A junior Ministerial post is therefore incapable of driving with the requisite authority an integrated cross-Departmental response to the challenges.
Woodcraft Folk groups can get involved in the campaign:
  • Discuss the topic with your group and decide whether you want to endorse the call as a group (details of how to do this can be found here). 
  • Contact your local MP and urge them to support an Early Day Motion on this subject in Parliament. 
  • Sign the petition as individuals.