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 pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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