My one wish for the next generation of young people is that no matter what opportunities they’ve had in life or what their background is or what sort of inequalities they’ve faced, that they’re all equal, they all have something to give to society and everyone’s as important as everyone else.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


 - Download our strategy as a PDF


Our mission

Children England is a charity created, governed and inspired by other charities. Our mission is to change the world for England’s children by harnessing the energy, ingenuity and expertise of the voluntary organisations that work on their behalf.

We have always been proud of our history and the positive role that charities and voluntary groups have played in shaping our society and championing the importance of children within it. When we were all plunged into a global pandemic in 2020, we grew even prouder of the voluntary sector’s relentless dedication, adaptability and humanity, going the extra mile to stay connected, maintaining lifelines of support and trusted relationships, in ways that can never be taken for granted.

[I want to see] A society run from a more humanistic and environmental perspective rather than an economical one.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Our vision

We believe passionately that a thriving voluntary sector is an essential part of the fabric of a caring society that we want to see for every child and family as the nation recovers emotionally, and economically, from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our members share our vision and commitment to create a society where all children and young people are valued, protected and listened to, their rights are realized and their families are supported.

We know this vision is shared by many others beyond the voluntary sector and we will collaborate with all those who can support and help us to achieve real change for children.

My one wish for the next generation of young people is a caring atmosphere and an understanding that there’s more to the world than school.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Our role in the sector

We don’t have to be big, we just have to be brilliant!

I think strong community is very helpful, especially when you have problems in your family, so you can always have someone to hold you.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Children England is a small charity with big ambitions for change that we know can only be achieved by persuasion, by generating new ideas, building common cause and finding creative ways to collaborate with others. Our team may be small but our view of the issues and systems affecting children and charities is huge, because we listen closely to our members whose combined workforce is over 100,000 staff and volunteers working in the heart of their communities right across England.


Children England is the most intelligent, well-informed and effective champion for children in the UK

Stephen Blunden, CEO of Childhood First and Children England trustee 


We value our financial independence from government and are committed to remaining independently funded in future. Independence enables our work priorities to be determined by our members, enables us to speak to all audiences and decision-makers without fear or favour, and helps us in our aim to offer bold, challenging and imaginative sector leadership.

We know that no charity has a right to exist in perpetuity. We do not aim to grow for growth’s sake, nor to chase funding wherever it can be found. We make a firm commitment to our members not to compete with them for funds that sustain their direct practice with children and families. We are committed to continue our work with passion and creativity for as long as our members and funders see real value in what we do.


We will amplify sector consensus where it exists, and lead debate where it doesn’t

We are not here to pretend that all charities are the same. We believe our sector’s great diversity is its strength. We believe our society, democracy and collective learning all benefit from open debate that seeks out and listens to different views and perspectives.

We will actively encourage and contribute to debate amongst our membership and beyond. Where we find conflict or complexity we will not hide it, but seek to find a way through it for the benefit of children. Where we find consensus we will amplify it, and we will always support and encourage the full breadth of voices and campaigns from all our members.


Our relationships with members

We view membership as a relationship, not just a subscription. The better we know each of our members, the more able we are to connect them with each other directly in ways that we know they find invaluable. We are here to listen, and to be helpful in whatever ways we can be – and if we don’t know the answer we won’t pretend to, but we're very likely to know who does.


[Children England has] A body of experience and knowledge that distinguishes it from campaigning organisations/lobbyists in this field.

Keith White, Director of Mill Grove, Children England member


We INFORM - because knowledge is power

We keep our members informed and aware of all key developments for charities supporting children, through our regular Children England and 4in10 Email Newsletters, our quarterly Funding List, informative briefings and direct communications.

Through the pandemic we jointly produced an ongoing survey of frontline children’s services practitioners to gather their intelligence and concerns, which was used to rapidly inform government of issues arising in local practice with children. We hope to continue to be part of those sector efforts, and to make the most of the learning gathered, throughout the course of this strategy.


I have always recognised Children England’s commitment to collaboration, their membership focus and their ability to join cross-sector organisations together under a shared cause – that of a better society for England’s children. Children England’s knowledge, integrity and resources mean that they are respected as a voice of authority and influence.

Mark Lee, CEO of The Together Trust and Children England trustee


We CONVENE - because our impact is greatest when we collaborate

Children England and 4in10 both arrange regular members’ forums, practice-sharing events and meetings on a range of key issues, aiming to bring our members’ collective wisdom to bear in sharing good practice, confronting challenges like child poverty and austerity, and connecting them with experts and organisations beyond the charity sector who can advance their work.

Anyone working for one of our member organisations can use the ‘convening power’ of their membership to call for a discussion with other Children England members, whether a one-off session, or a longer-term working group, and Children England will facilitate the initiative.


Children England is a trusted representative and a go-to organisation on issues relating to children and families

Karen Parsons, CEO of Children’s Links and Children England member


We AMPLIFY voices and campaigns - because a movement needs many voices

We passionately believe in the importance of campaigning right across the charity sector, and we support all our members in raising their voices. We promote collective campaigning opportunities by, with and for our members, and offer all members the opportunity to share their work and generate debate through the Member Views section of our website.


I want people to be looked after. Landlords should be made to make their properties meet a decent level. I want food banks to be closed because people don't need them anymore. I want politicians to actually vote for the things that will mean people are looked after.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry

We STRENGTHEN by sharing our learning, and by learning from our mistakes and from each other

We know that our members are committed to continuous improvement in their work with children, young people and families, and we can enable learning and wider improvement by sharing across our networks and with government. We are equally committed to improvement in how we work at Children England, and always open to listening and learning from criticism and ideas of how we can be better. Growing the breadth and diversity of our membership, and the diversity of voices and leaders in our sector (and elected to our governing board) will be a priority for us throughout this strategy.


I’d like for the government, and other organisations, to take into account individual circumstances within people, rather than just having a “one shoe fits all” criteria, because life isn’t that simple, and everyone is different. 

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Our Context, Goals and Work 2021 - 2025

The sector needs a strong voice now more than ever to speak up against the erosion and fragmentation of services for children, young people and struggling families

Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become and Children England trustee


Our two strategic goals established in 2016 continue to represent our mission over coming years, and are only made more important by the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures during 2020 - 2021 on the lives of children, young people and families, and the parallel challenges for the sustainability of charities and voluntary groups across the country.

The pandemic and associated lockdowns brought home the fact that children and their care are the heart of our society, not the periphery. All our complex ecosystems of economy, enterprise, public and charitable services - and all adults’ working lives – are interdependent not only with each other but with our children’s wellbeing, and the ‘village’ of support all families need. We are committed to ensuring that national and local plans for the long emotional and economic recoveries ahead understand that they must have children at heart to be successful.


GOAL 1: Keeping Children at Heart in Society

I was thinking that the Covid-19 pandemic is a terrible thing that is gripping the world at the moment. 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 health care system, strong communities to support those in need, strong social institutions such as schools which can adapt to continue 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 up with a clear vision for when we are out the other side.

Lauren, 17 – ChildFair State Young Leader, March 2020


The ChildFair State Inquiry

The ChildFair State Inquiry is a mission project for Children England. Children England continues to be led by young people, campaigning for a stronger welfare state that recognises and supports all children's need for home, safety, love, health and purpose (a paraphrasing of Maslow's five needs). We aim to create a movement of young champions for a ChildFair welfare state, with a platform to share and develop their visions in collaboration with others, and we will support them to put their reforms and principles on the nation’s agenda. We will create a ChildFair State members’ group for members to support and benefit from this work.

[I want to see a society] Where schools could afford everything they needed to enrich our education. The benefits system is so careless that it leaves people homeless or without an income for several weeks. People live in fear of reliance on the state and it shouldn’t be like that.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


4in10: London’s child poverty campaign

Supported by Trust for London and City Bridge Trust, the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network is working hard to make child poverty a top priority for all parties and candidates in London’s 2021 elections and beyond, and co-ordinate annual action through London Challenge Poverty Week, while supporting practical learning and sharing of ideas to tackle child poverty across London’s councils and voluntary sector organisations. 

4in10 recognises that many of its member organisations are small with few paid staff and sees its role as complimenting those staff by undertaking the sharing of data and research and enabling networking across borough and/or thematic boundaries. The Pandemic has clearly illustrated the breadth of those frontline services and the reliance and trust families and children have in them.

My wish for the next generation is that no matter where you are from you have the same equality, the same right to travel, to have the same money, to be free because you know sometimes it looks like depending on where you are from you have more value than others. It doesn’t make sense, all of us are humans.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Child’s House for Healing (Barnahus)

Thanks to an award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Dream Fund, Children 1st is leading a partnership with Victim Support Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and Children England to build Britain’s first Barnahus known as the ‘Child’s House for Healing’. The Child’s House for Healing will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to go to, as an alternative to courts, social work offices and police stations. Designed to feel like a family home, the Child’s House in Scotland will be a space where child victims and witnesses can give evidence, receive medical care, take part in decisions about their protection and get support to recover from the trauma they have experienced. Children England will actively champion the value of this kind of child-centred system change, and promoting the spread of the Child’s House for Healing practice through our membership networks, with local and national government, and more widely across the country.


GOAL 2: Sustaining the Voluntary Sector

If we simply accept that the test of our worth is to do whatever it takes to survive in a financial Hunger Games, we sell ourselves short and devalue our sector’s currency. We have the capacity to act as a ‘currency converter’ between what the economist Edgar Cahn calls the ‘core economy’ of family, friendship and community, and the ‘cash economy’ where everyone and everything must be paid for. As a sector we can generate money out of economic thin air... But that currency conversion can’t happen if we operate like burger retailers competing for market share. No-one ever ran a marathon to raise funds to boost Burger King’s bottom line.

Kathy Evans, Value Beyond Money 2014


Challenging markets for charities

The Declaration of Interdependence that we developed with the TUC and many of our members remains a foundation stone in our ongoing work to inspire real change in local relationships, service commissioning and partnerships between statutory and voluntary organisations. Through our leading role in campaigning for procurement reforms, and advising the VCSE Crown Representative at the Cabinet Office, we will continue to push for person-centred partnership approaches and to share good practice among charities and colleagues in the public sector, in how to achieve the move away from corrosive markets towards creative partnerships.


Collective campaigning and collaboration across charity infrastructure

Having been a core member of the #NeverMoreNeeded collaboration throughout the pandemic, we remain convinced of the need for collaboration across the sector, and a multiplicity of diverse voices and ideas to meet the challenges facing society. We are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with all our sister organisations and membership bodies across the voluntary sector, to share intelligence, pursue common goals, and promote the essential roles and value of charities and voluntary groups in society.


My wish for the next generation is for them to be treated like actual humans rather than machines that just need to keep getting the best grades or be the best product or always be on our A game - just to be treated normally.

Young contributor to the ChildFair State Inquiry


Open to All

Our long-running campaign encourages all charities to review requirements for university degrees within their recruitment, and to positively adopt the ‘Open to All’ badge and commitment to value all talents and educational backgrounds in our workforce. With over 30 organisational signatories so far, we will continue to engage the voluntary sector in improving the inclusiveness of their recruitment. Aiming to mimic the Living Wage as a voluntary standard for employers, we may seek to fund and develop Open to All as a discrete initiative.


Our organisation – how we fund and aim to sustain it

All of our funding comes from charitable sources to pursue our charitable purpose. We are funded by charities, for charities, for children.


Membership fees

Only charities and other forms of not-for-profit organisation can join as full members of Children England. Our fees vary according to the size of the charity’s turnover (or the part spent on work with children, young people and families if the organisation also works with other groups), to ensure that fees are proportionate and enable the smallest and the largest to come together, and learn together, as part of the Children England family.

For the 2021 - 2025 strategy Trustees reviewed the fees that had been set and held frozen throughout the last strategy, and agreed to new fees and bands. Following member feedback Trustees will now review these fees annually.


Children England Membership Fees: 2023 - 24

Category A

£4,134 annual fee for members with income over £20 million

£2,756 annual fee for members with income £10 million - £20 million

Category B

£1,378 annual fee for members with income £5 million - £10 million

£606 annual fee for members with income £2 million - £5 million

£331 annual fee for members with income £1 million - £2 million

Category C

£121 annual fee for members with income £250,000 - £1 million

£61 annual fee for members with income £100,000 - £250,000

£27 annual fee for members with income below £100,000


Charitable trusts and foundations

Children England is grateful to receive grant support from a range of valued funding partners. We have core grant funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The Blagrave Trust and John Ellerman Foundation. We continue to give thanks to the Tudor Trust too, for the five years of core grant support they gave us throughout our last strategy, without which we would not have sustained our work to 2021 at all.

Our 4in10 child poverty campaign network in London is wholly and jointly funded by Trust for London and City Bridge Trust. The Child’s House for Healing partnership we are part of is generously funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, through their Postcode Dream Fund.

Sustaining our funding relationships and seeking new funding partnerships will be absolutely vital to our progress over coming years, and we always welcome inquiries about how we're funded and could be in future.



The ChildFair State Inquiry could not have happened without the generous donations we received from supportive individuals and organisations. We continue to promise that all donations will be devoted to building the visions young people have developed and creating a movement for a ChildFair State that works better for everyone.

As a small charity every single donation we receive makes a huge difference, not just to our ability to sustain and grow the impact of the Young Leaders’ work, but also as a vote of confidence and support. Thank you to everyone who has donated and to anyone considering doing so.