Letter to Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families
Tim Loughton MP,
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Children and Young Families)
Department for Education,
Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BT
6th March 2012
I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about levels of child neglect, and the urgent need for concrete Government action. I am sure that you share my commitment to giving every child in Britain the opportunity to grow up in a loving and caring environment, free from abuse or neglect. I hope, therefore, that you will lend your support to Action for Children’s campaign to help combat child neglect. Recent research for the campaign shows that 51% of social workers and 36% of police officers feel ‘powerless’ to intervene in cases of neglect. I trust you will agree that this is not an acceptable state of affairs.
One part of the solution is for local authorities to keep good and accurate records of cases of child neglect and child poverty. I understand that central Government does not collect nationwide figures on child poverty, but I was wondering if any steps have been taken to help local authorities improve their systems for recording neglect and measuring progress in tackling it.
As well as ensuring good records are kept, I believe early intervention is vital to securing the health and wellbeing of children. Whilst in many instances incredible amounts of help and support are forthcoming, there is still much to be done at a local authority level to ensure that all neglected children and their families can tackle problems early on. I’d be interested to know if the Government has any plans to improve local authorities’ response to neglected children, and if so what these might be.
17,000 people have so far signed Action for Children’s petition asking the Government to do more to tackle child neglect, including many of my constituents. I very much look forward to your response which I will pass on to those who have contacted me about this important issue.