Choose Childhood: 150 years of taking Action for Children
Action for Children, a Body in Association with CTE, celebrated their 150th anniversary this July. Here Karis Kolawole tells us more about their work and latest campaign…
In July, Action for Children, founded by Methodist minister Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson, celebrated its 150th anniversary. Our celebrations have been two-edged because it is exciting to be part of a great legacy, but the truth is that we shouldn’t really exist.
Our founder was moved by the plight of marginalised and impoverished children deprived of a decent childhood. Many of them could not raise their hopes above hard lives in workhouses. But, Stephenson believed they deserved better – a safe and happy childhood with a future filled with hope. So, he set up The Children’s Home (later called National Children’s Home) to offer a family-style system of childcare.
That was then, but what about now? We’re still here because sadly Action for Children is still needed. On 9th July, we published a report and launched a campaign called ‘Choose Childhood’ which shows that, for hundreds of thousands of children in the UK, childhood continues to hurt. Over two-fifths of parents (42%) and grandparents (41%) told us that they think children today do not have a brighter future than the previous generation. While there have been significant changes over the years to make life better, childhood is still marred by various modern-day challenges that need to be fixed – from neglect, bullying, pressures of social media, and poverty to concerns about Brexit. Too many children in the UK are being left at risk of harm, with overstretched services unable to support them.
Every child deserves a safe and happy childhood. Children don’t choose their lives – but we can choose to act. So, we are asking churches to please join us in urging the government to commit to a national action plan for children now, before things get even worse. Please sign-up to the Choose Childhood campaign by visiting our website.
The Choose Childhood report also comes with a version for young people and a discussion pack.
Karis Kolawole, Head of Faith Partnerships at Action for Children.
Action for Children is a Body in Association with CTE. They protect and support children and young people, providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard, and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org