Response - Every Child Matters

By: Helen Lewis
Published: February 2004

Response - Every Child Matters

Shelter welcomes the governments decision to issue a Green Paper on services for children. It offers an opportunity to address the current fragmentation of childrens services and to join up responsibility for their delivery within government. It also offers an opportunity to develop policy for specific groups, such as homeless families, for whom the risks arising from a lack of joined up policy and service delivery are particularly great.

However, we also have some concerns about the scope of the proposals in Every Child Matters:

  1. In general, we do not consider that the links between the health and educational needs of children with their housing conditions are sufficiently recognised.

  2. We are concerned that whilst the Green Paper recognises homelessness as a risk factor increasing the likelihood of negative outcomes for children it does not propose to include housing and homelessness services within some of the new proposed structures and models of working and also does not foresee housing being involved at a strategic level.

  3. The models of service delivery proposed in Every Child Matters are not always sufficiently tailored to the needs of homeless and poorly housed children and young people and ensure sufficient support to them.

  4. There is a need to back up the Green Papers proposals with a clear and robust funding framework, to ensure that new models of working are firmly established and support services are accessible to those who need them.

Our response to the Green Paper focuses on the following areas:

  • What the current barriers to effective information-sharing are and what are the means of removing these

  • The current barriers to the development of multi-agency teams

  • How to integrate funding for support services to children and young people

  • How to develop the Childrens Trust model

  • The benefits to all those working with children sharing a common core of skills and knowledge.