Unfortunate turn of phrase, Mr Narey?
I know there are a small number of children from a range of social backgrounds who are tragically living in unbearable circumstances of cruelty and neglect with their birth parents, and of course I wouldn't argue with anyone who wanted to offer them an improvement to their lives, but I usually hear the term 'better off' in purely financial contexts.
In fact, a person could be forgiven for wondering whether outgoing Barnados chief Martin Narey has been in conversation recently with the Labour MP Graham Allen, who has recently published a report about early intervention into children's lives.
Mr Allen has the grace to say in his report: "It is not just about money," which is good, because I can think of some children of relatively affluent parents who might be emotionally "better off" in more caring, albeit economically poorer environments - if we're going to try to play God with people's 'life chances'.
It's not just about money. It shouldn't be even about money. Are these people - these men in high places - seeking to create a rich/poor apartheid in the official treatment of British families? If you're sufficiently wealthy, you get to be left alone, but if your income is below average then you can expect your child to have to undergo an early intervention programme? Your two year old child, who is essentially still your baby?
I know some people hold deeply anti-family beliefs. Through their own unfortunate childhood experiences, or some misguided Brave New World ideas about political utopia, they'd prefer any issue of the great unwashed to be surgically removed to a quiet, ordered place of unemotional clinical sterility, where it can be summarily cleansed of any potential lack of productivity and other irritating traits and I wouldn't like to put Messrs Narey or Allen into this bracket without further knowledge of them.
But I think, through their use of such unfortunate phrases, they might be in danger of straying uncomfortably close to it.
(More about the Allen report from Pete Darby here.)