Supporting Neglected Children

by Action for Children

In his own wordsSean was a young carer with our Birmingham Young Carers project, and now he works there.

‘Action for Children changes lives.

‘Action for Children can meet the needs of all sorts of children and young people. The staff aim to find out the problems in a child or family’s life and eliminate them by working alongside them. They don’t judge families. They will take an individual approach to helping every family they meet.

‘Action for Children has helped me progress through life. To me, it’s family – the charity has supported me through personal issues that people would only normally tell friends or family members about.

‘Action for Children turned my weaknesses into strengths. I was a very shy boy at one stage, but now Action for Children has developed me to the point where I can to deliver speeches to large numbers of people. The staff have made me optimistic when I face problems, and helped me deal with them.

‘Even now I’m staff, and no longer a service user, I know I can approach my previous peers for advice and support – they’re always there for me.’

Sean's story

When Sean first arrived at Action for Children’s Birmingham Young Carers project, he was lonely and shy. He was struggling to care for his mother and brother, and he was barely going to school. Thankfully, Birmingham Young Carers was there to help.

‘When I was younger, I never really wanted to go to school. I was usually at home helping around the house, because my mum was really sick. She had suffered from cancer and then was diagnosed with brittle asthma, which made her quite bed-bound.

‘At the age of six, my main role was to help my mum, to get her medication ready and to look after my younger brother. When I was a bit older, I often just wanted to run away from home, because I felt so alone. I missed so much school that the school got in touch with social services, who put me forward to Action for Children.

‘I remember feeling quite overwhelmed. I used to always be at home – I never mixed with anyone outside of school. So when I first came to Birmingham Young Carers, I was quite shy. I had one-to-one sessions with my case worker, who was really nice. She took me out to eat and we just sat at the park near my house and she just listened to what I had to say.

‘I was put with an older group – I was quite young then, compared to most people starting at the project. I made a friend who helped me break out of my shell and become more confident – even with small things, like getting a taxi. I had never travelled in a black cab before. I then started making friends with people my own age, and we would go on different outings – to places like theme parks and museums.

‘Before Action for Children, I really didn’t feel normal, because I didn’t know many people. But once I became part of Birmingham Young Carers, I found there were other people out there who were going through the same stuff as me. I knew a girl at school who was going through the same thing, and I was shocked that there was actually someone else. It makes you feel like you’re not that different after all.

‘My life completely changed after attending Birmingham Young Carers. As time went on I became more mature, and with the support of Action for Children, I became more confident. Action for Children has given me so many options to choose from. I just want to thank Action for Children for all the help they have given to me.’

Sean has gone from strength to strength since he gave this interview. He’s travelled all around the UK to tell people about our work; he became a mentor; he volunteered at Birmingham Young Carers; and he is now a family support practitioner there, at the same project which helped him.

Many dream of doing something life changing but often they doubt that they can do it.  This January, Action for Children would like to encourage people to come forward and talk to us about changing their career and becoming a foster carer.

One foster carer said: ‘Action for Children make an extra effort to get to know their foster carers which in turn gives them the understanding of each carer’s needs.  I would not want to work with any other fostering agency.  They are the perfect team.’

Previous surveys have shown that:

  • When comparing fostering with their previous career, 85% stated they are more satisfied or much more satisfied, with 77% stating they would recommend fostering to others.
  • Where they had fostered with other providers (predominately local authorities or trusts), the support provided scored highly compared to their previous provider. 61% said it was ‘much better’ and 19% said it was ‘better’.

Do you have the following or know someone who has:

  • a spare bedroom
  • plenty of time
  • energy
  • a commitment to be there for as long as it takes

Action for Children will support you every step of the way by offering 24-hour helpline, training, generous fees and breaks.

You can: 

Have any questions about fostering?

For a free information pack or more information on fostering:

Thank you for donating to our 'Supported Neglected Children' project. We would like to take this opportunity to ask for your support of a different kind today.

The law on child neglect is out of date ( It doesn't cover emotional neglect and stops police and social workers working together. Neglect ruins children’s lives.

A letter to the Government supporting our campaign and signed by MPs from all the major parties is collecting signatures by the day, but we need more. We need to show the Government just how much support there is for a change in law, particularly amongst MPs. Email your MP asking them to sign the joint letter by vising

To add your name to the joint letter on child neglect, please email

Thank you for your support.


Impact report 2013

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:



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Organization Information

Action for Children

Location: Watford - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Shurron Phull
London, London United Kingdom

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