Our annual Impact Report demonstrates the difference that Action for Children services have made to children and young people's lives over the past year.
We know that helping vulnerable children early is vital to improving their outcomes, and we focus on four key areas that make their lives better: safety, health, relationships and achievement. The Report shows that we can evidence the cost-effectiveness of our services, and it also highlights our innovative approach.
For example, Action for Children is leading the way in providing evidence-based programmes, such as Multi Systemic Therapy (MST) for young people on the edge of care. We have also developed our Family Partners service, which intervenes early to tackle neglect.
Key findings for 2012-13 include:
In 79% of Family Partners cases the concerns about neglect were addressed and concerns about the child reduced or removed.
86% of our children's centres were rated 'good' or 'outstanding' on their safeguarding of children.
In our intensive family support services 89% of children and young people improved and achieved at school.
72% of children and young people involved with our services improved their ability to maintain or form a supportive relationship with significant other(s).
We have won contracts to deliver MST services in the first two major children’s social investment projects in Essex. These services will provide positive alternatives to local authority care by improving relationships within birth families and increasing educational attendance and achievement.
An independent Social Return on Investment evaluation by Beacon CIC (2012) of one of our children’s centres found a total return of between £7 and £8.50 for every £1 invested.
Read about the difference we've made and see the evidence that demonstrates our impact:
Action for Children, in partnership with the University of Stirling, has published the second comprehensive annual review of child neglect in the UK.
Neglected children do not get early help
Our report -The state of child neglect in the UK- reveals that nine out of ten teachers, police officers and social workers regularly meet children they believe are neglected. Yet as many as 40 per cent of these trained professionals feel powerless to intervene. Almost 6,000 people -- including the public, professionals and 27 local authorities -- took part in interviews, polls and focus groups for the study.
Everybody can do something to help
The public should act on child neglect , according to the people we polled, who say the Government should provide guidance in a website
Local agencies must work together to make sure that children do not fall through the cracks between different services and different systems.
Our recommendations to the UK Government in Westminster
Make sure local councils provide early help services for families
Create ways of knowing the positive difference we've made for children across all levels of need
Help the public find local help and guidance using a Government website
What Action for Children does to help neglected children:
With 140 years of experience on the front line of neglect, we promise to work with children and with the Government as long as it takes to that ensure that children get the early help they need. Here's how you can help:
They shouldn't, but unfortunately some will. The shocking reality is that many families across the UK are struggling to provide their children with enough food to eat, which is why we're launching this emergency appeal.
68% of Action for Children family support services are seeing children who are hungry and not getting regular meals.
Action for Children works with many children who don't eat regular hot meals. Their families are often facing some impossible choices like whether to pay their rent or heating bills, or pay for their weekly food shop. They can't do both. Can you imagine having to make such a decision?
There are vulnerable children across the UK who are facing a very bleak Christmas this year. They are hungry and worried, and desperately need your help.
With your support we can provide struggling families with emergency food parcels, making sure they have regular meals to eat. A gift of just £10 could pay for a week of hot meals for a hungry child, or help us to run breakfast clubs so children can get a healthy start to their day.
When five-year-old Ryan's dad lost his job, the family didn't know where to turn. Ryan's mum was heavily pregnant and they were living in temporary accommodation. They had no furniture and were sleeping on bare mattresses.
Ryan and his brother and sister stopped asking for toys and sweets - in fact they stopped asking for anything. Although he was only five, Ryan knew all too well that his parents were very sad, and he was growing up too fast.
Mum felt ashamed about asking for help, but when she came to an Action for Children project she broke down and told us everything. A few days later, a staff member came round to the family home with two weeks' worth of shopping. When they put the bags on the table, Ryan and his siblings cried with happiness at how much food there was.
Even after that, Ryan never expected he'd be celebrating Christmas that year. His parents had little money for food, let alone presents. So when Action for Children arrived with gifts for the children, they couldn't believe it. Ryan's little brother Harry thought Father Christmas had visited - and in a way he had!
Ryan's support worker Sue worked with Ryan's mum and dad to get them the help they needed. From buying credit for Mum's phone, to providing food parcels and intensive support, Action for Children staff supported the family every step of the way. They even went to the children's school and explained the family's situation to their teachers.
This Christmas will be a much happier one for Ryan and his family. Action for Children continue to work with him, his parents and his school to turn his life around, and he's now a happy, healthy little boy.