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We celebrated Action for Children Sunday with a talk on the local Buckinghamshire projects by area fundraiser Samantha Snelus. In 2015 the charity made life better for 300,000 people: children, young people, their parents and carers. It is a huge progression from Fred and George — the first two children taken in by the charity's Methodist Minister founder Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson in 1869, rather than them having to face the workhouse. Their website echoes the story Sam told us:
"We run 650 services in local communities across the UK.

"We've been helping children and young people for 145 years. From our earliest days, we've moved with the times to adapt, to make children safer. We built friendly homes in 1869 for children living on the streets. We were the first charity in the UK to create a national adoption agency in 1926, and the first to open our doors to German refugees fleeing the Nazis in 1939.

We evolve. Today we support parents and parents-to-be, babies and pre-school children. We help young carers, disabled children and their families. We support young people through the most difficult times — in their families, in care and as they become independent adults.

This years Impact Report showcases the benefits of delivering early action services that work. It highlights the results we consistently deliver meeting the needs of children, and our efforts to introduce new solutions that adapt to changing need.

Early action defines the approach we have pioneered for more than 25 years across local communities: from targeted interventions at the earliest opportunity for children and families most at risk, to early support for parents and children in need of a little extra help to prevent problems from escalating. Both lay the foundations for children to grow up strong, resilient and with hope for their future.

The current challenge for local authorities remains their ability to implement longer-term preventative measures when faced with severe budget cuts, forcing the focus onto highly targeted, reactive delivery. Our challenge is to make the case for change by highlighting the positive impact of informed, evidence-based early action services.

Data from all our services across the UK shows that:

96% reduced risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
87% of children improved their emotional wellbeing.
97% of young people remained in education, employment or training after 16 years of age.
97% of children with complex health needs sustained maximum independence.
93% of carers believe we have made their job as a foster carer easier.
96% of our volunteers said they would recommend volunteering with Action for Children.
82% of parents and carers using our early years services say that their children were well prepared for school.

For the full 2015 Impact report click here.

Action For Children video — see how far we've come! Meet Fred & George

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