The Influences Upon Policy Making

For this section, we had to choose a particular charity that focuses its work upon and around children. It had to be a charity that was large enough to focus upon their background information, their aims and how they meet them, about their funding and how they influence the work of the Government. As a result of this, I decided to focus upon Barnardo's. History Thomas John Barnardo was born in Dublin in 1845 and soon became one of the most famous men in Victorian Britain. When he was 16, he decided that he wanted to become a medical missionary in China and so set off for London so as he could train as a doctor.

When Thomas Barnardo first arrived in London, it was a city that was struggling to cope with the major effects of the Industrial Revolution. The population had dramatically increased and this had a big impact upon the East End where there was over-crowding, unemployment, poverty, bad housing, and disease. Shortly after Thomas Barnardo had moved to London there was an outbreak of Cholera, which swept through the whole of the East End, killing more than 3,000 people. Thousands of children were sleeping rough on the streets whilst many other children were forced to beg for what they needed.

All of this had a big impact upon Thomas Barnardo and led him to take action. As a result of this, in 1867, Thomas Barnardo set up a school where poor children were able to get a basic education. Thomas Barnardo met a boy here; Jim Jarvis and he decided to take Barnardo to see the children that were sleeping rough in the streets. Such children were sleeping on roofs of houses and in gutters. The encounter affected Thomas Barnardo so much that he decided he was going to devote himself to helping destitute children. In 1870, Thomas Barnardo opened his first home for boys.

He often went out at night and brought destitute boys back to the home and gave them as much as they needed. One particular evening, an 11-year-old boy tried to take shelter in the home but was turned away because it was full. Two days later, he was found dead from malnutrition and exposure. As a result of this, Thomas Barnardo ensured that the home wore the sign – No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission. Thomas Barnardo accepted all children for who they were and stressed the importance of every child being given the best possible start in life.

This start in life was regardless of their background or any other factors that may have affected them in any way. This is a philosophy that still inspires Barnardo's today. Barnardo later opened a girl's home, which could house a total of 1,500 girls. By the time a child left Barnardo's they were able to make their own way in life and in the world. Barnardo ensured that the girls were equipped with domestic skills and that the boys learnt a craft or trade before leaving the home. Thomas Barnardo died in 1905, and had already founded and ran 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children.

Each child that walked through the doors was given a good start in life – a start in life that Barnardo believed and felt strongly about. Between the 1940's and the 1950's, Barnardo's began working a lot more closely with families. The charity began awarding grants to families that were in some difficulty because the 'breadwinner' was unable to work as a direct result of an accident or of illness. By the end of the 1900's almost a quarter of Barnardo's work meant that they wee involved with helping children to stay with their own families.

The 1960's were a time of radical change for Barnardo's and had a large impact upon the way in which they worked with children. Single parenthood was becoming a lot more acceptable; this was with a greater use of contraception and this meant that there were fewer unwanted children. This therefore meant that improved social security benefits meant that it was no longer necessary for parents to hand over their children to Barnardo's because they could not afford to care for them.

Such developments and the changes in legislation meant that the number of children received by Barnardo's was decreasing and so a commitment was made to cut down on residential services. They set out to develop new work with disabled children and those with emotional and behavioural problems. To reflect upon this, the charity changed its name in 1966 from Dr Barnardo's Homes to Dr Barnardo's. By the end of the 1900's plans were made to close down large numbers of homes and to convert them into specialist units for many children that needed it.

In 1988 the organisation of Barnardo's changed its name from Dr Barnardo's to Barnardo's to reflect the contrast within the Victorian past. The last traditional-style home of Barnardo's closed in 1989. From the 1970'ss onwards, Barnardo's continued to expand their work into fostering and adoption. As a result of this family centres were set up in communities to support families in deprived areas, families that were disadvantaged. They set out to help families facing problems such as unemployment, poor health, bad housing and poverty, with the aim of defusing the stress and tension that might lead to family breakdown and more so, child abuse.

Barnardo's stopped running homes for orphans and children in poverty over 30 years ago now. The work of Barnardo's today is based upon the same set of values that Barnardo's was founded on in 1866. Since then the services that have been provided have changed and they will continue to do so, but their aim is to help children and young people with the greatest need, and this stays the same. Barnardo's is very proud of their past, but what concerns them most is children today and the future that they may hold. Barnardo's run services across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Every service is different but each has the same goal – to help disadvantaged children reach their full potential, the full potential that they all deserve. Barnardo's helps them to overcome challenging experiences and to tackle the effects of disadvantage, as well as to help them develop into well-rounded adults. Barnardo's calls this 'giving children back their future'. Children only get one chance at childhood and it is Barnardo's that helps them to have this and to the full. Barnardo's makes sure that they can make the most of it, whatever their circumstances, background or experiences.