Introducing the motion, Lisa O’Connor, president of the Association of Educational Psychologists, said:
“A recent report from the Children’s Commissioner in England reported that there are two million children and young people living in circumstances that make them vulnerable to the negative impact of a range of adverse childhood experiences.”
She said common factors such as poor living conditions, poverty, discrimination or disjointed care due to parents working long and unsocial hours cause excessive stress in children, which blunts their development.
The motion calls for a national debate about our children and young people and their basic needs, and for government to publish a joined up strategy guided by the growing body of research on the effects of early childhood experiences.
O’Connor finished: “Those two million children are living in our families and communities. Their parents are members of our trade unions. Their lives, and the way they have to live, are our business.
“Is anyone scrutinising and recognising the overall impact of current economic, industrial and social policies, and working practices on today’s children and young people?”
Mark Kent, a BT rep and part of Prospect’s delegation at the TUC, seconded the motion.
He said: “Prospect represents several thousand workers in children's and young people's education and social support. Each one of our members knows that every child matters.
“In 2003, Tony Blair’s government also discovered that every child matters and legislated to ensure suitable provision for children in all key respects: child safety, health and wellbeing, happiness, the ability to achieve and to become productive.
“It's a little disappointing, although not surprising, to note that in 2010, David Cameron's cabinet backed off. How do you back off from every child mattering? Do some children matter and not others?
“Congress, when a child is given a voice to speak for themselves they become adults who can, will and do speak for all of us.”
The full wording of motion 33 can be read at the TUC website.
Prospect's Education and Children’s Services (ECS) group represents nearly 3,000 professionals in the education, children's services, early help, commissioning and children's social care field.
Photo: Mark Kent speaking at the TUC 2018