Why are we still are failing children?

This weekend’s headlines read as a catalogue of failure when it comes to looking after some of the most vulnerable. Story after story detail lack of courage by adults to intervene and provide adequate care or protection for children, leaving them exposed to risky environments.

Those that caught my eye include:


No wonder research by Unicef rated the UK as bottom when it came to children’s quality of life. Common sense is no longer common as libertarian individualism rules and important regulation that is designed to protect children is dismissed as an infringement on freedom. We are leaving our children exposed, vulnerable and confused with shifting, inconsistent boundaries of which we should be ashamed. The government need to get a grip and could start by:

  • introduce minimum pricing, invest in alcohol education and tackle lax advertising,
  • insist on opt-in systems from Internet Service Providers for viewing porn,
  • ensure sufficient provider capacity for children with mental illness,
  • not interfere with councils wanting to protect school catchments from purveyors of junk food,
  • promote adoption and
  • convene a summit to tackle cyber-bullying.

This is all important but we lack a comprehensive understanding of what it means for a child to be ‘Fit-for-school’. So this is the theme for a new work-stream that 2020health will be launching next year, taking a comprehensive and holistic view of what a child needs in order to thrive, from the early years to secondary school.

Please get in touch with us via juliamanning@2020health.org  if you would like to be involved.



About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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