This is my first blog as president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS).
On Thursday 6 April, I was joined by my family and friends, colleagues and others at the British Medical Association for my presidential inauguration. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent colleagues at a national level and to give voice to some of the challenges facing children, young people and their families and the local authorities working so hard to support them. I look forward to the year ahead which is made even more special as this year ADCS celebrates 10 years since its creation.
I follow in the footsteps of Dave Hill, who has worked tirelessly with government colleagues and others from across the sector over the last 12 months to drive improvements that make a real difference to the lives of children and their families. I will value his support and wise counsel over the coming year as I work to continue this legacy - so Dave, I'm afraid your aim of returning "to relative obscurity" is not going to happen!
In my inaugural speech I outlined the Association's priorities for the coming year and what I hope will be the golden thread throughout my presidency and beyond. I look forward to working towards the delivery of these priorities and to supporting a national conversation on what a country that works for children might look like.
It's hard to argue with the premise that we need a country that works for children. One that is preparing its children to thrive - not just survive; one that ensures its children's most basic needs are met, that they are kept safe, have a suitable place to live, enough food and water and that they have accessible, inclusive educational opportunities. One might be forgiven for assuming that all children and young people have these fundamental things - they do not. I recently read that there are four million children living in poverty in this country - that's almost one third of the total child population. This cannot be right. If the government wants to achieve its ambition to create "a country that works for everyone", we must first start with one that works for our children.
Shortly, I will be asking ADCS colleagues to help me describe what a country that works for children might look like so we can develop some consistent messages and "asks".
It will be a huge privilege to drive and influence this and other work over the coming 12 months, I look forward to working with you during my presidency and to championing a country that works for children.
Alison Michalska is president of the ADCS. This blog first appeared on the ADCS website