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Put children at the heart of the pandemic recovery with tangible action, says BPS

16 March 2021

With the new Children’s Commissioner announcing a major review into children’s welfare and services, we’re calling for an ambitious programme of change and action which puts children at the heart of the Covid-19 recovery.

The review aims to improve all aspects of children’s lives, from mental health to schooling, poverty and career prospects, and we are encouraged by this opportunity to ensure children and their psychological health and wellbeing at the forefront of the conversation.

We want to see a radical overhaul of children and young people’s mental health services, and we urge the commissioner to draw upon psychology and its evidence base to inform its findings and policy recommendations.

We are heartened to see the Children’s Commissioner call for the continuation of short-term measures to support children, including extending free school meals during school holidays. She refers to ‘avoiding a drop’ in universal credit, one simple way for the government to do this is to ensure the £20 uplift is made permanent. It is vital these lifelines are maintained to ensure inequalities, already widened by the pandemic, do not damage the life chances of children further.

Dr Hazel McLaughlin, president of the BPS, said: “The launch of this review by the Children’s Commissioner is a positive step towards ensuring children are front and centre as the nation recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope this announcement will lead to tangible action from the government to make a real difference to children’s lives.

“Many children have borne the brunt of this pandemic with disruption to all aspects of their life and we need swift and decisive action to ensure the life chances of millions are not damaged further, and all children have the chance to flourish and thrive.

“We want to see a systemic overhaul of services, with psychological health and wellbeing a priority, making sure babies and toddlers get the best start in life and ensuring services are properly funded and resourced with professionals so all children and young adults can access the support they need.

“We look forward to working closely with partners to offer our expertise and evidence base to enable significant change and build a brighter future for our children.”

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