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Children’s Commissioner for England says “listen to children and act on what they are telling you”

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has a duty to promote and protect the rights of all children, with particular regard to children who are living away from home or receiving social care services. Her priority is to listen to children across the country, to hear about their lives and champion their voices.

She has published The Big Ambition, compiling the voices, views and experiences of children about their lives and aspirations.  Over 367,000 children and adults engaged with it, and findings cover 10 themes of family, education, children’s social care, youth work, online safety, health, safety from crime, jobs and skills, unaccompanied children seeking asylum and thoughts on ‘a better world’.

The Big Ambition was launched formally in Parliament on March 25th, 2024 alongside the Commissioner’s 16 youth Ambassadors. It offers a positive vision to improve and protect childhood by setting 33 practical ambitions aimed at overcoming the challenges children told the Commissioner they face: from staying safe online and challenging harmful myths around body image, to lessons in how to manage their money and more enriching activities that divert away from crime.

Children in this country constantly amaze me with their insight and awareness. This is a generation of children faced with ever-evolving technology, stiff competition for jobs and university places, a postcode lottery in access to good healthcare, parents struggling with rising costs and lives played out over social media – but rather than becoming despondent or pessimistic, they are charged with energy and a passion for making change.

Yet – disappointingly – only one in five feel listened to by the adults in power. Without the proper structures in place to consult with them, it means when it comes to elections, manifestos, promises from their local MPs or councillors, their opinions are too easily ignored. They are talked about, rather than to – they are not truly heard.

Childhood is precious and should be protected. My vision for children is one where they believe in their ability to drive change without bearing the weight of adult responsibilities. This report, which marks the halfway point of my term, is a call to action to all politicians and policy makers in this general election year: listen to children and act on what they are telling you.”

Executive summary available here



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