Vulnerable children ‘heading for explosive situation’ if health visitors not funded

Health visitors need to ‘collaborate with the community’ to help out a number of children equivalent to the population of Manchester that a Children’s Commissioner report has found to be living in vulnerable situations.

According to Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, there are 800,000 children aged 5-17 suffering from mental health disorders, 700,000 live with families that have ‘vulnerabilities’ and 1,200 have been identified as victims of modern slavery.

The figures were described by Ms Longfield as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as many children remain undiscovered due to the unavailability of data. Ms Longfield will be requesting data from local authorities and government departments over the next year in an attempt to fill in the gaps of her report.

She said: ‘It is shocking that half a million children – a number equivalent to the entire population of Manchester – need direct intervention or care from the state because they are living vulnerable lives.

‘Yet even more shocking is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The actual numbers are likely to be much higher. The truth is nobody knows the exact number of vulnerable children.

‘What we do know is that even these numbers are unacceptably high. Our ambition as a nation should be for all our children to live happy and healthy lives. This report shows that millions are not doing so – and that has to change.’

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