Socialist Worker

Double standards over child welfare

Issue No. 2128

Over half of adults in Britain believe that children behave like 'animals' and over a third think that 'something needs to be done to protect us from children'.

These were the shocking statistics revealed last week by the charity Barnados in a new report highlighting the demonisation of children in Britain.

But these attitudes don't come from nowhere – they are encouraged by the policies of government ministers and the negative stereotypes promoted in the media.

These are the very same ministers and media pundits who have seized on the Baby P case to press urgent calls for better protection for children.

But child welfare shouldn't end in infancy – it should also involve offering a decent future for young people and the adults that care for them.

Instead Labour's policies have criminalised growing numbers of young people and led to rising mental health problems among children.

And this month's unemployment figures showed that youth unemployment rose by 53,000 in the last three months. It is now the highest level since 1995.

It's no wonder that a Unicef report has found that children in Britain are the unhappiest of any Western country.

This shows the double standards at work when the government talks about caring for children at the same time as encouraging the demonisation and marginalisation of young people.

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What We Think
Tue 18 Nov 2008, 19:32 GMT
Issue No. 2128
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