Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about children and young people’s well-being.
I am aware that the Children’s Society has been measuring children’s well-being for over a decade, and concerningly, during much of this time it has been in decline.
It is vital that children’s health is a national priority. The Government must focus determinedly on improving the health and well-being of every child.
As you are aware, the recent Good Childhood Report 2020 found that 15-year olds in the UK were among the saddest and least satisfied with their lives in Europe. The report further found that the coronavirus pandemic affected children’s happiness negatively due to the lack of choice they had in life.
This eye-opening report lays bare the stark pressures and difficulties faced by young people in the UK, compared to those in other European countries. Children and young people have been left behind long before coronavirus, but throughout this pandemic they have not been prioritised for the support they need.
The Government has said it has engaged with the Children’s Society and other sector organisations in recent months to discuss how it can continue to build support in different areas to improve children and young people’s well-being.
With children in the UK ranking lowest for life satisfaction across Europe, I am concerned this shows that the Government is out of touch with the real struggles faced by young people.
I am aware that the Children’s Society has long called for a more comprehensive approach to collecting data on children’s subjective well-being. It has argued that measuring well-being has many benefits including that it provides a mechanism to target support to the most in need and allows for progress to be tracked.
I believe that the Government must finally provide a comprehensive measurement of children’s well-being in order to properly quantify changes and target resources.