Home-Start have joined a coalition of charities and child welfare experts in signing a public letter that calls on the government to create an independent commission who can inform strategy and help avert the long term impact of Covid-19 on children and young people, in particular on poverty, metal health and education.

The letter was published in The Observer newspaper on Sunday 17th January 2021.

The full text of the letter reads: 

The pandemic is having a devastating effect on the childhoods of children and young people across the country. Growing numbers of hard-pressed families are being swept into poverty, with more than 4 million children living in poverty even before Covid wrecked the economy. The closure of schools has widened the yawning education gap and the spiralling numbers of young people suffering mental illness and psychological distress look certain to increase with every day that lockdown keeps them isolated and uncertain about their futures.

These challenges are taking place just as the local services that children and their families rely on to keep them safe are reeling from the combined effect of more than £2bn in funding cuts over the last 10 years, coupled with unprecedented demand for their help.

Children’s welfare has become a national emergency. An independent commission, to inform a cross-government strategy to steer children and young people clear from the lingering effects of Covid-19, could avert this. This commission should bring together representatives from across the sector, including charities, school leaders, teaching unions, education experts, doctors and mental health professionals, as well as the children’s commissioner.

Read the letter online and see the full list of signatories.

Read The Observer's article about the letter.