Read our latest parliamentary briefings highlighting issues affecting children, young people, parents and carers we support.
These inform national decision makers to achieve better outcomes for every child, no matter who they are or what they have been through.
House of Commons Debate on the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee report
Barnardo's frontline workers say that children participate in acts they have seen in pornographic videos, despite feeling uncomfortable or scared. To better protect children from viewing pornography online, Barnardo's recommends that future legislation address commercial pornography.
Health & Care Bill: Committee Stage (HoL)
The Health and Care Bill provides an opportunity to improve the integration of health and social care services so they can meet the needs of children and young people.
Barnardo's policy paper - Health & Care Bill
This paper sets out Barnardo's position on the Health & Care Bill. We believe this Bill is a key opportunity to meet the health needs of children and young people across England, and to tackle health inequalities.
Barnardo's Health & Care Bill Policy Paper - December 2021.pdf
Health & Care Bill - Second Reading [HoL]
This Bill provides a key opportunity to meet the health needs of children and tackle health inequalities. Barnardo's is calling for the Bill to better support young carers, expand the Better Care Fund to encourage integrated health & care services for children, and to be reviewed 2 years after it has passed to ensure it is meeting the needs of children.
Barnardo's Briefing - Health & Care Bill, Second Reading [HoL].pdf
Barnardo's welcomes announcements in the Budget for support for families and youth services, but is disappointed that the Government did not use this as an opportunity to include additional investment for Mental Health Support Teams in schools to ensure all children can access support they need, when they need it.
PCSC Bill - Committee Stage [HoL]
This Bill provides a key opportunity to tackle child criminal exploitation and serious youth violence. Barnardo's is calling for the Bill to be amended to introduce a statutory definition of child criminal exploitation (CCE); training for all professionals about CCE and for a National Serious Violence Oversight Board to be established.
It takes a village: investing in support for families - October 2021
Children and families are often reaching crisis point before being able to access support. Barnardo's believes that effective family support can achieve meaningful change for children and family's outcomes. We've found for every £1 invested in our intensive family support service on the Isle of Wight, the saving in costs to the state is approx £2.60.
Parliamentary briefing - It Takes a Village - Barnardo's report
PCSC Bill - Second Reading [HoL]
This Bill provides a key opportunity to tackle child criminal exploitation and serious youth violence. Barnardo's is calling for the Bill to be amended to introduce a statutory definition of child criminal exploitation; and for the Serious Violence Partnerships to be strengthened to safeguard children.
Barnardo's Briefing - PCSC Bill Second Reading, House of Lords (PDF)
Health & Care Bill: Committee Stage [HoC] – September 2021
Children growing up in England today face some of the worst health outcomes in Europe. The Bill is a unique opportunity to tackle health inequalities for children and improve integrated health & social care services. However, as drafted it fails to recognise children’s needs.
Health & Care Bill: Second Reading [HoC] - July 2021
Children growing up in England today face some of the worst health outcomes in Europe. The Health & Care Bill is a unique opportunity to tackle health inequalities for children and young people and improve integrated health & social care services for all. We believe the Bill does not address the needs of children and we are calling for the Bill to undergo a Child Impact Assessment to ensure it is fit for purpose in delivering the joined up, holistic care and support services so many of our children desperately need.
Barnardo's briefing - Health & Care Bill [HoC]
Opposition Day Debate: Investing in Children and Young People - June 2021
At Barnardo’s we believe that the pandemic must be a catalyst for real change for children and families, going beyond the school gates to ensure families can access the right support at the right time – enabling children to thrive at home and in school. To do this, children need to be at the centre of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, supported by a cabinet minister for children and a cross-government strategy.
No place like home: improving outcomes for young people leaving care - May 2021
The experiences of young people leaving the care system for our No Place Like Home report, funded by IKEA, paint a grim picture of mouldy housing and shared accommodation where there is antisocial behaviour and drug and alcohol problems.
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Committee Stage, Criminal Exploitation [HoC] - May 2021
To better protect children from criminal exploitation we need to focus our response on safeguarding, rather than criminalisation. Alongside other organisations, Barnardo’s is calling for this Bill to be amended to introduce a statutory definition of ‘criminal exploitation’.
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Committee Stage, Serious Violence Duty [HoC] - May 2021
To better protect children from criminal exploitation we need to focus our response on safeguarding, rather than criminalisation. Barnardo's is calling for this Bill to be amended to strengthen the duty on authorities to plan, prevent and reduce serious violence.
Debate on the Humble Address - May 2021
Barnardo’s welcomes a number of key proposals in the Queen’s Speech, including commitments on supporting families with young children, educational ‘catch up’, integrating health and social care, improving support for victims, and making the internet safer for children.
Barnardo's briefing - Humble Address [HoC]
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Second Reading, [HoC] - March 2021
To better protect children from criminal exploitation we need to focus our response on safeguarding, rather than criminalisation. Barnardo’s is calling for this Bill to be amended to introduce a statutory definition of ‘criminal exploitation’. Alongside ensuring the multi-agency approach to tackling serious violence includes interdependent partnership working with local agencies, charities and the private sector and long-term investment.
Domestic Abuse Bill: Committee Stage [HoL] - Amendments 176 & 177
As it stands the Domestic Abuse Bill risks creating a two-tier system with adult and child victims living in refuges getting support services but the majority of victims who remain at home will not. Barnardo’s, alongside other organisations, are calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be strengthened by including a duty on all relevant public authorities to commission specialist domestic abuse services for all persons affected by domestic abuse.
Joint briefing - Domestic Abuse Bill, Committee Stage [HoL]
Domestic Abuse Bill: Second Reading [HoL] - 5 January 2021
As it stands the Domestic Abuse Bill risks creating a two-tier system with adult and child victims living in refuges getting support services but the majority of victims who remain at home will not. Barnardo’s, alongside other organisations, are calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be strengthened by including a statutory duty on all relevant public authorities to commission specialist domestic abuse services for all persons affected by domestic abuse.
Joint briefing - Domestic Abuse Bill, Second Reading [HoL]
Briefing on the case for introducing a Kickstart ‘Premium’ to the Kickstart Scheme – October 2020
We welcome the Govenrment’s Kickstart Scheme to support young people into employment. However, often young people furthest away from accessing employment need more specialist support than their peers. We are calling on the Government to introduce a Kickstart ‘Premium’ to ensure disadvantaged young people receive the specialist wrap around support they need to benefit from the Kickstart Programme.
Briefing for Education Select Committee sessions with the Education Secretary – 16 September 2020
To ensure that children and young people are able to realise their potential whilst we continue to live with COVID-19, we must make sure they are able to learn and access support by tackling digital exclusion and supporting their mental health.
Briefing for Women & Equalities Select Committee on the unequal impact of Covid-19 on BAME people - 15 July 2020
Covid-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and has disproportionately harmed children and young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. BAME children and young people are facing multiple and overlapping challenges including with mental health and wellbeing, increasing caring responsibilities and greater likelihood of bereavement.
Briefing for the Home Affairs Select Committee – 15 July 2020
During lockdown children and young people have continued to be exposed to harm whether at home, in the community or online. With a long summer, many parents returning to work, increasing levels of youth unemployed, combined with a looming recession, we are concerned that children are likely to go unrecognised and unsupported – remaining hidden.
Briefing for MPs & Peers: Children’s mental health and Covid-19 - 13 July 2020
Barnardo’s new report, Mental Health and Covid-19: In Our Own Words, was co-produced with young people who carried out their own research with nearly 150 young people. The report explores children and young people’s experiences of lockdown and makes a number of recommendations about the changes needed to ensure the right mental health and wellbeing support is available in the months and years to come.
Briefing on Child Sexual Abuse - 10 July 2020
The impact of child sexual abuse on victims can be devastating and can last a lifetime. Before the pandemic, at least one-in-six 11-17 year-olds had experienced some form of sexual abuse. Barnardo’s current TV advert demonstrates how sexual grooming and abuse feels from the child’s perspective, using computer-generated komodo dragons to depict perpetrators.
Briefing for Debate on the Financial Statement – 8 July 2020
The Government’s agenda for ‘building back better’ from Covid-19 should ensure the most vulnerable and disadvantaged benefit from the recovery. In order to achieve the ambition to ‘level up’ the UK, the Government should develop a ‘new deal’ for children and young people prioritising urgent investment in mental health and wellbeing support, funding for children and young people’s services including early intervention and support for vulnerable young people as part of the ‘Opportunity Guarantee’.
Domestic Abuse Bill: Remaining Stages Briefing – 6 July 2020
We welcome the inclusions of children as victims of domestic abuse in the Bill. However, that does not ensure that all child victims will receive the vital support they need to recover. We are calling for a statutory duty on relevant public authorities to commission support for all persons affected by domestic abuse – including children.
Backbench Business Debate: The Impact of Covid-19 on BAME Communities - 17 June 2020
Covid-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and has disproportionately harmed Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. BAME children and young people are facing multiple and overlapping challenges including bereavement, increased caring responsibilities, and rising mental health needs.
Motion: Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - 10 June 2020
These temporary changes have raised concerns that the legal framework for children could be at risk, as well as contribute to further discrepancies in the care received by children depending on where they live. We are calling on the Government to take to ensure that children’s entitlement to vital support is not at risk.
Briefing for the Public Bill Committee: Domestic Abuse Bill – statutory duty amendment – 4 June 2020
As it stands the Domestic Abuse Bill risks creating a two-tier system with adult and child victims living in refuges getting support services but the majority of victims who remain in the family home will not receive support. Barnardo’s, alongside other charities and organisations, are calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be amendment to include a statutory duty on all relevant public authorities to commission specialist domestic abuse services for all persons affected by domestic abuse.
Briefing for the Public Bill Committee: Domestic Abuse Bill – impact of domestic abuse on children - 4 June 2020
Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on children’s lives and futures. We are calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be strengthened to take into account the effect on children by amending the statutory definition and by ensuring support for all children no matter where they live, including young people in abusive relationships.
Briefing for the Education Select Committee - 27 May 2020
Covid-19 has exposed the nation’s children to trauma, adversity and loss. It has caused significant harm to vulnerable children and young people, many of whom are isolated in unsafe homes away from the supportive environment of school. As schools reopen, disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people will need additional support, not only with their education but also with mental health and wellbeing.
Parliamentary Briefing - Time for a Clean Slate: Mental Health at the Heart of Education - 25 May 2020
Our new report calls on the Government to support schools to prioritise pupil and staff wellbeing and afford schools flexibility with the curriculum as children return. It also calls on the Government to seize this opportunity to bring about a sea change in the education system - to prioritise child welfare and wellbeing, so that it is on a par with academic achievement.
Briefing for House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee - 19 May 2020
In these times of immense and growing hardship, our services are needed by vulnerable children and families more than ever. Charities like Barnardo’s are working hard to adapt services so they can continue to support those who need them most remotely – but we need more support from the Government to do this.
Joint briefing on children’s services funding and spending – 18 May 2020
Analysis by the leading children’s charities highlights the financial and demand challenges that local authorities faced before the onset of Covid-19, as Government funding for children’s services has reduced by £2.2billon over the last decade.
Home Affairs Select Committee Session on Online Harms – 13 May 2020
Barnardo’s is concerned about a ‘perfect storm’ of children and abusers spending more time online, combined with a shortage of content moderators, leading to greater exposure of harmful content. The Online Harms Bill should be brought to Parliament without delay.
Debate on the challenges facing the charitable and voluntary sector during the Covid-19 pandemic - 30 April 2020
We are living in extraordinary times. Covid-19 has wiped out overnight potentially billions from the charity sector – closing stores, pausing fundraising, losing income. Charities are the glue that holds society together. The Government should commit to reviewing the £750m support package for charities to ensure charities have the funds to adjust and meet the needs of those who rely on them.
DCMS Sub-Committee Session with Social Media Companies - 30 April 2020
The risks to children online are extremely serious and growing. Since the lockdown, 37% of Barnardo’s frontline staff said children and families are concerned about spending more time online. In the absence of legislation, tech companies must ensure children are protected online.
Briefing for the DCMS Select Committee Session with Social Media Companies
Home Affairs Select Committee Session with the Home Secretary – 29 April 2020
45% of Barnardo’s practitioners have seen a decrease in referrals due to services having less contact with families. With vulnerable children isolated in unsafe homes and cut off from school and other services, there is a greater risk of harm from domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and online harms.
Education Select Committee Session with the Education Secretary - 29 April 2020
The pandemic and necessary lockdown are compounding the challenges facing vulnerable children and families — with children isolated in unsafe homes and cut off from school and other services families facing emotional and financial pressure, and local authorities relaxing statutory duties. We are concerned that vulnerable children may go unrecognised and unsupported.
Domestic Abuse Bill: 2nd Reading [HoC] – 28 April 2020
Barnardo’s welcomes the Domestic Abuse Bill, which will raise awareness of this terrible crime, and has the potential to improve support for people in abusive relationships and their children. However, in order for the Bill to achieve its aims, we believe it must be amended to place a duty on public authorities to support all victims and their children - whether they live in refuges OR in the family home.
DCMS Select Committee Session with the Culture Secretary – 22 April 2020
The Government’s package of support for charities is a welcome start but our services are needed now more than ever. As Government rolls out devices and routers to disadvantaged children, we need to ensure ‘hidden’ groups of children are not left behind, as well as ensuring that children online are protected from online harms.
Education Select Committee Session with the Children’s Minister – 22 April 2020
The pandemic and necessary lockdown are compounding the challenges facing vulnerable children and families – poverty, safeguarding, digital poverty, & mental health. With Government interventions focused on children with a social worker, we are concerned that ‘hidden’ groups of vulnerable children will go unrecognised and unsupported.
The impact of Covid-19 on charities – 31 March 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is a threat to the existence of charities and the third sector. In times of crisis charities are key. The charity sector urgently needs support from the Government.
Debate on the Coronavirus Bill – 23 March 2020
As the Covid-19 pandemic transforms our society, as always the most vulnerable are most at risk. We are concerned that children with ‘hidden’ vulnerabilities are at risk of failing through the net and that periods of isolation will heighten the effects of neglect, abuse, domestic abuse and online harms. During this period Government needs to ensure that vulnerable children and their families receive the support they need.
Lords Question on the care system and adoption - 28 January 2020
The number of children entering the care system continues to rise. Meanwhile, the number of children being placed for adoption is continuing to fall. In their review of the care system the Government needs to take this once in a generation opportunity to look holistically at how we can best support vulnerable children and set a new direction, so local authorities are able to prioritise early intervention and plan for the delivery of high-quality care.
Lords Question on improving support for excluded children - 27 January 2020
School exclusions have been increasing at an alarming rate - affecting some of the most vulnerable groups of children. To improve support for excluded children the Government should conduct a full review of the use of part-time provision for those who are excluded from school and ensure local authorities have sufficient capacity to deliver on their legal obligation to provide full-time education for excluded children.
Debate on the Queen’s Speech – 14 January 2020
Children should be a top priority for the new Government’s domestic agenda. Key priorities should include introducing the Domestic Abuse Bill, tackling online harms, improving mental health provision and reviewing the care system. Government should appoint a Cabinet Minister with named responsibility for vulnerable children including developing a cross-government strategy.
Debate on Children’s Services – 31 October 2019
Children services are a lifeline for children and families across England. Since 2010, there has been a reduction of funding and spending on early intervention like children’s centres. Government should address the £3.1bn funding gap in children’s services in the upcoming Spending Review in 2020.
Debate on Domestic Abuse Bill: Second Reading - 2 October 2019
Children are often the ‘hidden victims’ of domestic abuse. The new Bill is a chance to change that, but improving access to support. Barnardo’s briefing includes key facts, examples from our frontline services and suggestions for strengthening the legislation.
Debate on youth services - 26 July 2019
Youth services provide young people with a safe space and a place to get support. However, 87% of councils have shut at least one youth centre since 2011. Government should use the Spending Review to invest £3.1billion in children’s services.
Debate on knife crime policy - 27 June 2019
Knife crime and serious youth violence is on the rise and is impacting young people more than ever before. Government should promote a multi-agency public health response, focusing on early intervention and the impact of trauma.
Debate on domestic abuse - 7 June 2019
Children aren’t just witnesses of domestic abuse, they are victims. Being affected by domestic abuse can affect their life chances – health, education, entering an abusive relationship. Government should use the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill to implement statutory support for children affected by domestic abuse across England.
Briefing on children’s services - 26 February 2019
A combination of rising demand and cuts to funding there has been a shift of spending away from early intervention – children centre, youth services – to late intervention – child protection. The Government should use the Spending Review to address the £3.1bn funding gap facing local authorities for children’s services.