Embargoed until 00.01 Tuesday 16th March

Children England is delighted to know that the new Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza believes now is the time for an ambitious re-imagining of how our state supports children - and that children’s own experiences and priorities for change must be at the heart of that endeavour. 

As many champions of children’s rights, health, education and wellbeing know from their support of our work in the past two years, we have been enabling a group of 26 young people aged 13 - 21 to do just that, through the ChildFair State Inquiry. Completely youth-led, it has adapted to the restrictions of the pandemic and only become more intensive in its efforts to understand how children experience the welfare state and what profound changes are needed for children’s needs to be holistically met at local and national level. 

One of the Young Leaders, 16 as the pandemic hit, said at that time:

“Through the universal nature of this virus it is putting a strain on all our institutions and testing our country. However, through this it is highlighting what a society needs to function. Namely a strong universal healthcare system, strong communities to support those in need, strong social institutions such as schools which can adapt their support through challenging times... A lot of people are comparing our situation to the war and out of the war came Beveridge's welfare state... We should use the time to come with a clear vision for when we are out the other side because I think that would be the perfect time for implementation.”

This inspiring and committed team of young people, who all have their own experience of how well - or otherwise - services support children, have already analysed the findings of their research, and begun to create visions for new ways of delivering in schools, communities, health settings and more.

CEO Kathy Evans said:

“Our Young Leaders are determined to create ongoing dialogue with other young people, with service providers and with decision-makers, to ensure the messages of their peer research are heard and the values of a new 'childfair' state can be explored in all settings and systems. They are extremely open and collaborative in their approach to changing support for children, and we invite the new Children’s Commissioner to hear from them directly, and discuss how she can support and amplify their work as part of her own.”

Watch the Young Leaders present their work here:


For further information, contact Chloe Darlington, Policy and Communications Manager, at [email protected] or on 07980 262611.