Children England is leading an inquiry into what the welfare state would look like if it recognised and supported all children’s need for home, safety, love, health and purpose (a paraphrasing of Maslow’s five needs).
The diagram above shows how we see the ‘branches’ of the welfare state informed by a child-centred version of Maslow’s five needs, and fed by the ‘roots’ of a sustainable economy and environment, and authentic democracy and human rights.
Our inquiry will involve testing the branches of the current welfare state to see how well they deliver on children’s need for home, safety and security, love and belonging, health, and purpose – and how new policies and practices could be designed and structured to enable them to do this better. There are of course other branches of the welfare state (for instance childcare) that don’t affect children’s lives as comprehensively, and we’re prepared to include any other branches that become important or even to invent any that become necessary! We’ve used ‘neighbourhoods’ to conceptualise the physical spaces where people live, work and play (as opposed to communities of people, which might not be geographically specific) as well as environmental factors such as air quality.
We believe the welfare state – in all its provisions – should holistically support the needs of ALL children, irrespective of their background, history or immigration status.