Childhood Vulnerability report reveals hundreds of thousands of children aren’t getting the help they need


If ever there was any doubt about the desperate need for the church to respond to families facing adversity in their communities, a new report on Childhood Vulnerability by the Children’s Commissioner should hopefully dispel any such reluctance.

The crux of the report is that an estimated 2.1 million of England’s 11.8 million children – one in six – are living in families with risks so serious that they need some level of help. The total number of number of children who are actually known to receive some kind of support comes to only 570,000. That leaves behind another 1.6 million children for whom it is unknown if they are actually getting any sort of formal or structured support – despite their potentially serious family circumstances.


These 1.6 million children are effectively ‘invisible.’

Some of the risks these children face include parents with mental health problems or parents who are alcoholics or have substance abuse problems. The report estimates 825,000 children are living in a family with domestic violence and that over 100,000 children are living in a family with the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of domestic violence, mental health and alcohol or substance abuse. Other stats related to the 2.1 million children growing up in families with these complex needs include:

  • 890,000 children with parents suffering serious mental health problems
  • 825,000 children living in homes with domestic violence
  • 470,000 children whose parents use substances problematically
  • 470,000 children living in material deprivation
  • 170,000 children who care for their parents or siblings.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, responding to the report, says:

“Over a million of the most vulnerable children in England cannot meet their own ambitions because they are being let down by a system that doesn’t recognise or support them – a system that too often leaves them and their families to fend for themselves until crisis point is reached.”

Kids Matter is a programme that engages with families and young children before crisis point – it strengthens families by giving mums and dads the tools to be competent, confident parents or caregivers. To get involved with our programme, as a volunteer or by financially supporting our programme, please contact us at

To read the full Vulnerability Report 2018, CLICK HERE.

Photo by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash




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