Children England responds to the closure of 4Children

The news of 4Children’s closure marks the loss of a significant nationally-recognised charity name that has been serving thousands of children and families over several decades. Our first thoughts are with the many skilled and dedicated people who are today facing redundancy. It is a great relief to know that redundancies have been minimised and most of 4Children’s direct practice will be continued thanks to collaboration with Action for Children and others.

For the children’s charity sector the news that such a large and recognised charity as 4Children has wound up in such serious difficulties will be both a shock and a warning sign. 4Children was operating in a highly competitive public sector marketplace and viewed by many smaller organisations in the sector as benefitting significantly from their scale and profile. Yet they have proved unable to keep going on their own. The serious financial fragility of the children’s services ‘marketplace’ is a very real and urgent problem, for large and small organisations alike.

Out of the mouths of babes

“We owe it to our children and to the very process of civic reasoning to recognise the fact that children also possess morally relevant feelings and ideas to which serious consideration is due.” Dr Joshua Forstenzer considers children and citizenship.

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Children and Social Work Bill 2016

Overall, there is no mention of strategy – either at national or local level – for either children in care, care leavers, or those who work with them. There is no vision outlined for looked after children’s services, their purpose, resourcing or structure, and the experiences and outcomes for children that should be delivered by those services. Instead there is a focus on tying up loose ends from previous legislation and obliging local authorities to communicate more, rather than deliver more.

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