In case you’ve somehow missed it (can we come live under your rock with you, please?), there’s an election coming up on 12 December. All of the political parties are in full campaigning mode and it can be difficult to make sense of all the information out there, so we’ve cut through the noise to pull out the text from each manifesto which shows where the parties stand on the care system, adoption, permanence, schools and mental health.

Our keywords: adoption, adverse, care, child, mental health, school, trauma


Read the full manifesto here.

'We Conservatives believe passionately that every child should have the same opportunity to express their talents and make the most of their lives – and that is why we are investing £14 billion over three years to increase funding for every primary and every secondary school pupil in the country' (p2)

'We will treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health. We will legislate so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve' (p11)

'We want to ensure every child has access to a great state school – that every pupil gets the qualifications they need for a prosperous future, while learning in an environment where they will be happy and fulfilled...This also includes £780 million in new funding to support children with Special Educational Needs next year alone' (p13)

'One of the Conservative Party’s proudest achievements is that we have raised standards in our schools and improved
behaviour. Students learn best when they are stretched, challenged and nurtured – in an environment where there is no disruption and no excuses for bad behaviour' (p13)

'We will back heads and teachers on discipline. We will expand our programme to help schools with the worst behaviour learn from the best – and back heads to use exclusions. Unlike Labour, we believe that Ofsted inspection serves a valuable purpose not just in improving standards but in improving behaviour' (p13)

'We will expand ‘alternative provision’ schools for those who have been excluded. We will also deliver more school places for children with complex Special Educational Needs' (p13)

'Children who end up in care are more likely to struggle as adults, denied the love and stability most of us take for granted. We will prioritise stable, loving placements for those children – adoption where possible or foster parents recruited by the local authority. We will review the care system to make sure that all care placements and settings are
providing children and young adults with the support they need' (p14)

'Young people are less likely to get into trouble in a well-disciplined school, which is why we will back teachers to enforce discipline. We are investing £500 million in youth services for young people' (p18)


Read the full manifesto here.

‘Focus funding to enable major improvements to mental health care to truly put it on an equal footing with physical health care, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access evidence-based mental health therapies within 28 days. We will ensure that tailored and specific provision is readily available for the particular needs of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) and Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, children and adolescents, and older people.’ (pp54-5)

‘Create a fully inclusive education system, where children with special education needs are able to access their local school and are fully supported in that school. This means ensuring accessible buildings, an inclusive curriculum and the provision of specially trained teachers across the school system. Specialist schools will be retained, for when children and parents would prefer that option.’ (p56)

‘Ensure that all children receive the basic elements of a good childhood: a decent place to live, safety and security in their community, time and space to play, as well as opportunities to learn and develop inside and outside of school’ (p57)


Read the full manifesto here.

‘Only one in four children and young people are able to receive help from a mental health professional. Our £845 million plan for Healthy Young Minds will more than double the annual spending on children and adolescent mental health services’ (p34)

‘We will establish a network of open access mental health hubs to enable more children to access mental health and recruit almost 3,500 qualified counsellors to guarantee every child access to school counsellors’ (p34)

‘The Conservatives have failed a generation of children with special educational needs and disabilities, who have endured years of cuts and chaos. Labour will provide the necessary funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities’ (p39)

‘We will take action to end ‘off-rolling’, removing the perverse incentives for schools to let pupils fall out of the system, by making schools accountable for the outcomes of pupils who leave their rolls’ (p40)

‘We will properly regulate all education providers and reform alternative provision (AP) to ensure an excellent education is the right of every child, and improve the outcomes and life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in society’ (p40)

‘Smarter justice requires cross-government action to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences and to break the vicious cycle of poverty, inequality and crime’ (p46)

‘Labour will launch a wholesale review of the care system, including kinship care, considering national standards such as a central register of foster parents and regulation of semi-supported housing, to ensure we meet the needs of every child’ (p51)

‘We will rebuild early intervention services and replace the Troubled Families programme with a Stronger Families programme, refocused on long-term support to reduce the risk of children going into care’ (p51)

‘We will protect and build on Staying Put for over-18s in care and the Adoption Support Fund’ (p51)

‘We will put children at the heart of everything we do, developing a cross-governmental National Strategy for Childhood focusing on health, security, well-being and poverty. We will give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’ (p73)

Liberal Democrats

Read the full manifesto here.

We will transform our mental health service by treating it with the same urgency as physical health’ (p8)

Nearly two-thirds of children and young people with diagnosable mental health conditions are not receiving treatment, and waiting times for psychological therapy can range from just over two weeks to six months, depending on where you are in the country’ (p9)

‘Over the next Parliament, a Liberal Democrat government will invest £11 billion in mental health to expand access to therapies and increase the number of psychiatrists and specialist mental health practitioners. We will make mental health services 24-hour, including placing mental health liaison teams in all hospitals so that those facing a mental health crisis are not put in police cells.’ (p9)

‘Schools that build emotional resilience and properly prepare our children for both work and relationships’ (p27)

Reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences by investing further in services during pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life’ (p27)

‘Parents should not have to be kept waiting for their child’s needs to be identifed and supported. Liberal Democrats will put wellbeing at the heart of every school, and better fund special needs education’ (p30)

‘An education system which focuses only on a narrow range of academic subjects and measures pupils’ abilities in a handful of high-pressure exams, does not give young people the skills they need to get on in life. It also lets down those children who do not work well in exam conditions’ (p32)

‘End the crisis in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities funding by allocating additional cash to local authorities to halve the amount that schools pay towards the cost of a child’s Education Health and Care Plan’ (p33)

‘Give parents school performance measures they can trust, by replacing existing government performance tables (‘league tables’) with a broader set of indicators including information about pupils’ and teachers’ wellbeing, as well as academic attainment.’ Ip33)

‘Ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling’ (p35)

‘Ensure there is a specific individual responsible for mental health in schools, who would provide a link to expertise and support for children experiencing problems. They would also take a lead on developing whole-school approaches to mental well-being’ (pp35-6)

‘Give schools a statutory duty to promote the wellbeing of their pupils as part of the inspection framework’ (p36)

‘Use this cash to relieve the crisis in social care, tackle urgent workforce shortages, and to invest in mental health and prevention services’ (p53)

‘Ring-fence funding from the 1p Income Tax rise to provide additional investment in mental health’ (p54)

‘Introduce further mental health maximum waiting time standards, starting with children’s services, services for people with eating disorders, and severe and enduring conditions. We want to ensure that all children and young people with a diagnosable condition receive NHS treatment (currently only 35 per cent do).’ (p54)

Stop the cliff edge of young people transitioning to adult services and ensure uninterrupted care’ (p55)

‘Embed Trauma-informed Youth Intervention Specialists in all Major Trauma Centres’ (p69)

Plaid Cymru

Read the full manifesto here.

'£300m extra for schools and colleges to give our children the best start in life' (p7)

'Plaid Cymru strongly believes that Mental Health should have parity of esteem with other NHS services. We will provide for a 5% increase in mental health expenditure every year for the next decade, doubling the amount we spend on a cumulative basis.' (p32)

'We will continue to support whole population approaches towards improving the mental health of everyone and preventing illness through better education in schools, access to green spaces, and the tackling of stigma and discrimination experienced by so many.' (p32)

'Early years interventions are vital. We will ensure that coordinated national and local multi-agency early intervention strategies will create a level playing field for each child, whatever their background or circumstances. Plaid Cymru will use schools as family support hubs with multi-agency early intervention for vulnerable children and their families from birth.' (p39)

'Fully utilising devolved powers over work conditions in the classroom to ensure teachers are allowed to dedicate their time to teaching and inspiring their pupils, making the needs of the child and young person central to all they do' (p39)

'In recent years we have come to understand more about the relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – traumatic events such as sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, and parental separation – and future offending and imprisonment. The Welsh ACEs study showed that people who have experienced four or more ACEs are 14 times more likely to have been a victim of violence over the last 12 months, 15 times more likely to have committed a violent crime, and 20 times more likely to have been imprisoned at any point in their lifetime. Eight in ten prisoners in Wales had at least one ACE and nearly half had four or more ACEs. Within the general population, around 46% have one ACE and 14% have four or more.' (p47)

Scottish Labour

Read the full manifesto here.

'Last year, over 5,000 children and young people waited over 18 weeks to access specialist services and 7,000 had their referral rejected with few other treatment options...Scottish Labour would act to improve and expand mental healthcare, strengthen links with the third sector and make it easier for people to get support in their own communities.' (p36)

'We are committed to achieving better integration between education, social work, health and social care, justice and the third sector, so that no one falls through the gaps' (p36)

'Scottish Labour supports the Give Them Time campaign and stands with parents who wish to defer their child’s entry into primary one. We are in favour of legislation to automatically entitle eligible children to an additional funded year of nursery when their parents use their legal right to defer their child’s entry to school.' (p39)

'Our vision for Scottish education also means putting more teachers and support staff, including specialist teachers for those with additional support needs, into our schools and providing local authorities with enough funding to make certain that those children who need additional support are not left behind.' (p39)

'Inequality in attainment must be removed. The gap between those from privileged and less well-off backgrounds is still too high, and looked after children also continue to face lower attainment rates. Scottish Labour’s aspiration is to end
educational inequality in a generation.' (p40)

'Smarter justice requires cross-government action to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences and to break the vicious cycle of poverty, inequalities and crime. We would champion a joined-up, trauma informed approach, fostering close working relationships between criminal justice and education authorities, health services and others. ' (p46)

'We would support councils to keep school facilities open over school holidays' (p55)

'We’ll put children at the heart of everything we do, developing a cross-governmental National Strategy for Childhood focusing on health, security, well-being and poverty. We will give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.' (p72)

'Raise support for children with disabilities to the level of Child Tax Credits' (p73)

Scottish National Party

Read the full manifesto here.

'And our £750 million Scottish Attainment Fund is closing the attainment gap in our schools and lifting standards for all' (p20)

'Care-experienced young people have made clear that changes is urgent and we agree. That is why we are taking action on devolved issues and will go further in future. At Westminster, our MPs we will demand further support to care-experienced people from the UK Government, particularly new measures to prevent and mitigate poverty amongst care leavers' (p35)

'SNP MPs will urge the UK government to follow the lead of the SNP Scottish Government by introducing a benefit that will reduce child poverty, re-establish UK-wide child poverty targets and establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission to provide expert advice on using Westminster powers to tackle poverty and to report on progress' (p37)

'The SNP will continue our work to increase parental rights - maternity, paternity, and adoption rights - working to  introduce legislation to support parents and children get the best start in life' (p37)

'We will also continue to press for extended legal protection against redundancy for pregnant parents, those on shared parental leave, and adoption leave, and new parents for up to six months after their return to work' (p38)

'We will urge the UK to follow Scotland’s lead by incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law' (p44)

' we will stand firm against the UK’s hostile immigration environment and the demonisation of migrants. This includes campaigning to end visa fees for children and to ensure an automatic system of settled status for children in care and care leavers' (p45)

Brexit Party

The Brexit Party's manifesto did not return any relevant results for any of our keywords. Read the full manifesto here.