Children England is fundraising to support our youth-led inquiry into a welfare state that puts children at heart

Children England is in what William Beveridge once called ‘crusading spirit’. We’re on a mission to fundamentally review and redesign the welfare state - so that it can work better, more sustainably for the 21st Century; and so that it can better serve the rights and needs of its youngest citizens.

We see evidence of the need for this inquiry in the news every day. 

Deep and far-reaching cuts to public service funding over the last decade are certainly a major contributing cause of crisis, but the corrosion and distortion of the principles and systems of the welfare state are so profound it cannot now be repaired simply by reinvesting more public money.

A 21st century version of a caring state will demand systemic redesign, learning critically from all of its history and from other countries too. The ChildFair State Inquiry will need to examine how marketisation and competitive tendering have affected the costs and quality of public services, affected the service user experience for the people who need them, and the professional practices of the people who work in them. It will explore how major ‘management remodelling’ and policy changes - such as the ending of secure tenure rights in social housing, Universal Credit in benefits, or school League Tables in education - have acted as paradigm shifts away from the underlying ethos of the original welfare state’s promises to its citizens.

We believe we should be led, challenged and inspired by the children, young people and families who experience the best and the worst of our public services and systems first hand, every day.

Beveridge's landmark report and the welfare state built from it were 'child-blind' - children's rights and particular needs were never explicitly recognised or prioritised. A refreshed welfare state design should learn from Maslow’s positive building blocks for every child’s optimal development, and the review would be constructed around Five Pillars for a caring society:

  • Home
  • Safety and Security 
  • Love and Belonging 
  • Health 
  • Purpose 

We know that Children England is the right organisation to lead this inquiry with imagination, creativity and positivity about the future.

Through our sector-leading voice and policy expertise, and our role as the membership body for the children’s voluntary sector, we have the key expertise and networks through which to consult, gather evidence and build consensus on what a 21st century welfare state should look like. Our members are already offering support: to engage children and young people, to host events and meetings and to contribute their practice expertise and opinions.

Now we need your support to make it happen.

If you, like us, believe that a welfare state with children at its heart is urgently needed, please make a donation to our appeal using the button at the top of the page. Our online donation process uses Stripe, which is a secure payment provider. 

Individual donations from the many people we know care profoundly about the role of the state in children's lives are a vital part of our fundraising plan, but we don't expect to raise the full cost of this project, which will be our core work for the next two years, from individuals alone. We are also approaching organisational supporters and you can read more about our plans, including other ways to contribute to the inquiry, in the document below:

Read the full case for redesigning the welfare state with children at heart.