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Social Justice

Kids are more worried about homelessness than terrorism or the environment

Action for Children survey warns of impact of social pressures on children following cuts to children’s services

Poverty and homelessness are among the social issues that kids are most concerned about according to a new survey that found families fear childhoods are getting worse in the UK.

The Action for Children/YouGov study asked 5,000 children and adults if growing up in the UK has got worse over time following drastic cuts to children’s services since 2010.

The charity previously warned that a 62 per cent cut in early years service spending had seen the number of kids using Sure Start centres in England drop to 1.8 million.

That is one of the factors that is behind the results of the survey, with 62 per cent of grandparents, 60 per cent of parents and a third of kids warning that it is a worse time to grow up in 2019 than in past years.

“Adult issues” also have an impact – 91 per cent of kids, some young as 11 years old – feel the social pressure from political turmoil while poverty and homelessness are chief among those issues.

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Half of all the kids surveyed put people living on the breadline as their top worry, even beating terrorism (49 per cent), the environment (48 per cent) and Brexit (38 per cent) while inequality like sexism and racism was a concern for 41 per cent of children.

The age-old top issue bullying remains a worry while there is a discrepancy the other way, with adults more preoccupied with screen time when it comes to kid’s issues. Children, on the other hand, were more concerned with pressure at school.

Action for Children’s chief executive Julie Bentley warned of a “childhood crisis” unless a National Childhood Strategy is implemented by the government.

“Our research shows children worry about poverty, homelessness and terrorism and the vulnerable children we work with every day are facing traumas like domestic abuse or neglect, going hungry or struggling with their mental health, without the support they desperately need,” he said.

“For the past decade, the government has been asleep on the job when it comes to investing in our children. The next prime minister must wake up to this growing crisis and put our children first.”

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