Children at Heart - Children at Heart

Welcome to Children at Heart

What’s your top priority for children?

Children are affected by almost every decision adults make – by families, by communities and by government. They suffer the impact of economic and social problems but they rely on us to work out what should be done about it. It’s time to tell politicians that children can’t be ignored in anyone’s plans this year. We all have a childhood, and all children should be at the heart of plans for the future.

Children at Heart is an umbrella campaign for all of us who care about children. Whatever your message, make it loud, clear and connected to everyone else campaigning for children’s welfare by using the hashtag #ChildrenAtHeart and the simple, sharable resources here.  Let’s unite our voices in a call that can’t be ignored: it’s time to put children at the heart of decision-making.

Read the latest guest blog from a campaigner with urgent priorities for children and families!

Children at Heart Resources

Click through to all the Children at Heart campaign resources.


100 degrees below zero

“For many employers, technical ability, practical experience and so called ‘soft skills’ such as team-building, time management or lateral thinking, are just as valuable as, if not more so than, a degree.”
Alice Barnard, CEO of the Edge Foundation, blogs for Children England’s #OpenToAll campaign

You play an essential part in changing the world for children

This year we have a re-invigorated sense of purpose and urgency. We will be launching a new bold and focused strategy for Children England in coming months; and after struggling to keep momentum and capacity for our regional groups through recent years, we are committed to focus and re-energise new efforts to engage members across the whole of England. We’ll be hosting sessions and events in partnership with our Trustees; hoping to build an activist movement to put children at heart in devolution.

My priority for children: Convention on the Rights of the Child

Guest blog by Carolyne Willow, Director, Article 39
Those shocked by the notion that human rights apply to everyone, including the young, have had plenty of time to work through their grief for childhoods past. Denial and dissent should have been replaced by acceptance and hope long ago. For sure, our country has had plenty of time to make good our children’s rights obligations.

My priority for children: support for kinship carers

Guest blog by Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group
Almost a half of kinship carers have had to leave paid work, or cut their hours as a result of taking on the children. Unlike adopters, they are not entitled to statutory leave. Unsurprisingly, many fall into severe financial difficulties.

My priority for children: make SRE statutory

Guest blog from Carol Davies, West Midlands
What is age appropriate in today’s society, where children and young people have access to pornography, children re-enacting what they have watched … young people believing that sexual violence is a norm?

My priority for young people: mental health

Guest blog by Ife Grillo, Vice Chair Campaigns and Communication, British Youth Council
You don’t get new mental health when you turn 18, adult mental health is directly linked to children and young people’s.

My priority for children: treat teenagers as children by law

Guest blog by Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
We forgot teenagers were still children, still vulnerable, deserving of our respect, care and protection. As a nation we did not listen when young people told us, over and over, they felt rejected and distrusted by society; suspected, rather than protected, by police.

My priority for children: legal aid access in care proceedings

Guest blog: Emeritus Professor June Thoburn, member of the College of Social Work’s Children and Families Faculty.
The decision of whether all sides of the argument should be put on a matter as serious as whether a child will be permanently legally split from either their birth parents, siblings, or both should never be determined by the lack of funds for legal representation.

My priority for children: access to justice

Guest blog from Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just For Kids Law
Shockingly, 93% of young people with legal problems receive no help from professional independent advice services.

My priority for children: put disabled children at heart

Guest blog from Debbie Smith, EDCM Campaign Manager
Too often Government fails to understand the cumulative impact of policy across Government and only view disabled children’s issues in isolation, undermining their own ambitions to improve disabled children’s lives.

My priority for children: equality for care leavers

Guest blog by Mark Lee, Chief Executive, Together Trust
I believe young people in residential care deserve the same opportunities for ‘Staying Put’ that have been set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 for young people in foster placements.

My priority for children: remove the invisibility cloak from children in care

Guest blog from the team at the Every Child Leaving Care Matters campaign
Our society has thrown an ‘invisibility cloak’ over children ‘at risk’ and/or ‘in care’. Every now and again, this invisible curtain is drawn back briefly drawn back to allow society to exercise its outrage at a child’s death, or some injustice perpetrated on individual or groups of children in care, usually culminating in an all too brief and ethereal clamour that ‘something must be done’. Then the dust settles again, and everything gets back to ‘normal’.

My priority for children: emotional support for care leavers

Guest blog by Natasha Adley, social worker
If we want to act as corporate parents and provide the same level of care as any reasonable parent would to their child, we cannot neglect the emotional support that these young care leavers need.

My priority for children: treating refugee children as children

Guest blog by Alison Harvey, Legal Director, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
My priority is to see refugee children treated as children first and foremost. The assumption must be that they will be treated in the same way as any other child. They will have additional needs, as do many groups of children, and in response to these they should get extra help.

My priority for children: looking after teenagers

Guest blog post from Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society
Too often in the UK we ignore the reality that many teenagers who can appear troublesome or difficult are in fact vulnerable young people desperately needing love, support and affirmation of their unique value.

My priority for children: support for those in gangs

Guest blog post from Carol Davies
Raising awareness of gang-associated young people and its impact on families is a priority of mine. I feel these families fall into a gap and due to this do not always receive the support they require.

In election debate the world we create must have Children at Heart

Launch blog post by Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
#ChildrenAtHeart is a campaign created by the voluntary sector at a time when we have been encouraged to tread carefully, be wary of undue political influence, to stick to our missions (or our knitting!). But we are too concerned and too passionate about the children and young people in this country to be fearful of raising our voices during this election – and we hope you will be too.

My priority for children: Re-thinking Education

Guest blog post from Keith White, Director, Mill Grove
If I had my way the philosophy or purpose of education would be at the heart of public debate. We live in a society (and aspire to living in a world) where all children, male and female, spend much of their childhoods in places we call “schools”. There are unending disputes about aspects of what happens in these buildings, but no one asks the fundamental question: what are they for?