Children’s Quarter is a cooperative of groups providing services to children, young people and their families which aspire to, advocate for and commit to inclusion and to working collaboratively with each other to achieve it.  We believe children and young people who are disabled or have mental health or other additional needs, and their families, should be fully included in society and properly served by public services.

 

We are based in Birmingham

But we know across England, as well as in this city, there is the demand and need for more:

  • local
  • affordable
  • customised
  • responsive
  • high quality
  • community-based

services for children and young people who are disabled or who have mental health, or other additional needs, because:

 

One-quarter of children and young people don’t ‘fit the box’…

That is, one in four children and young people is disabled or has mental health or other additional needs that mean they are vulnerable to social isolation and exclusion from local services. These include the opportunities most families take for granted, such as: play; education; sports and leisure opportunities; clubs, societies and opportunities to make friends.  That is, an estimated 3 million children and young people in England who are  being made vulnerable to social isolation.  Figures from the Children’s Commissioner for England suggest:

  • 1,500,000 children are disabled
  • 1,400,000 children live in poverty
  • 1,250,000 children have Special Educational Needs
  • 1,100,000 children are in longterm workless families
  • 800,000 children have mental health difficulties
  • 170,000 children are young carers
  • 150,000 children are excluded from school each year
  • 120,000 children are homeless or in insecure housing
  • 70,000 are ‘looked after’ children in local authority care

Clearly, many children and young people face more than one set of challenges, and…

 

Families are excluded too…

Because, across the country, there is virtually no specialist childcare; the large majority of mainstream childcare providers do not accommodate children facing the sort of challenges listed above; and, unlike mainstream schools, special schools do not run after-school clubs.  Governments can say there is universal access to childcare. There isn’t.  Parents with disabled children or children with mental health and other additional needs are excluded from childcare; and excluded from work; and made dependent on benefits.  That means families, including siblings, are more likely to suffer the effects of family breakdown and mental illness.  Parents, particularly single parents and particularly mothers, of disabled children and children with mental ill-health and other additional needs are effectively, albeit we think unintentionally, singled out by government policies to be further excluded, financially and socially.

 

Enough’s enough?

If you think so too, then please support Children’s Quarter.  If you are a group that provides inclusive services to children, young people and families, then please join the cooperative.  If your organisation isn’t a direct provider of services, but is concerned with the way children and families are being treated, then please sign up as an associate.  If you’re an individual who believes we can’t go on wasting the talents and welfare of one quarter of the next generation just because they don’t ‘fit the box’, then please join as a supporter.

 

Members and groups that helped set up Childrens’ Quarter:
We are working together with support from organisations including CSPACE at Birmingham City University to develop Childrens’ Quarter which was formally launched in November 2017.