With the election tomorrow, many are describing it as the tightest race in decades. We have scoured all the manifestos to find the policies that directly relate to children, and how they are going to be affected by the next government’s changes to care services. Please note, this article has not been written to direct you in a particular direction, but to simply present the ‘parties promise’ in relation to our industry.
FOSTERING & ADOPTION
Conservatives: Introduce regional adoption agencies which will work across local authority boundaries to match children and parents, and launch a new adoption support fund to provide adoptive parents with more help.
Labour: The manifesto makes no specific mention of fostering or adoption, the focus is on more support for children in kinship (family and friend care).
Lib Dems: Tackle delay and instability in foster care with better support and training for foster carers, including mental health issues. Continue to make it easier for children in care to be matched with adoptive parents, through the national adoption register and the new national gateway for adoption.
Greens: The manifesto makes no specific mention of fostering or adoption.
UKIP: Reform the care system so the 68,000 children in care in the UK can find stability through fostering and adoption in a faster, more efficient way.
Plaid Cymru: The manifesto makes no specific mention of fostering or adoption.
SNP: The manifesto makes no specific mention of fostering or adoption.
OTHER POINTS OF NOTE
Conservatives: Require age verification for access to all websites containing pornographic material and give music videos an age-rating.
Labour: Introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse.
Lib Dems: Improve children's mental health services.
Greens: Make it illegal to stop nursing mothers feeding their babies in public and invest in evidence-based parenting programs. Ensure child protection systems tackle child neglect and abuse early on, including changing the law so emotional abuse is treated on a par with physical abuse.
UKIP: Require local authorities to keep a register of child care providers willing to offer emergency childcare cover at short notice and during atypical hours. Legislate for an initial presumption of 50-50 shared parenting in child residency matters and give grandparents visiting rights. Bring forward a review of childcare and child protection services.
Plaid Cymru: Provide children with children protection against smacking by removing the reasonable punishment defense. Improve the availability of childcare for children with disabilities. Review the effectiveness of child protection provision to make sure schools and social services co-operate efficiently. Investigate how tax credits can be better used to reduce child poverty.
OTHER AREAS THAT MAY HAVE AN IMPACT ON FAMILIES
• Parental Leave
• Child Benefit
• Schools & Education
• Special Education Needs
• Post 16 Options
• Health Services