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ADCS makes an urgent call to arms for government to put children and families at the heart of all policy decisions

The Association  of Director of Children’s Services (ADCS) has published its Childhood Matters report, an update to capture the changes that have happened since its 2017 policy positioning  paper,  A country that works for all children, was released in 2017 describing the current situation for children, their families and the public services they rely on.

The new report reiterates the Association’s previous calls for a comprehensive long-term vision and plan for childhood and to address the funding gap in children’s services. It also identifies the most pressing priority for all the different government departments and agencies with a stake in child and family policy.

The report identifies that, since 2010, funding for local government has fallen by almost half in real terms leaving several councils effectively bankrupt, and with more expected to follow suit.

It estimates there will now be a £4 billion blackhole in council finances over the next two years and notes that, over time, more is being spent on child protection and care meaning there is less for early help and support.

John Pearce, ADCS President, said: “It is clear that children’s needs, rights and outcomes have not been prioritised in recent years. The cumulative impact of government policies and decisions on them, their families and the public services that support them is growing. The impact is evident from underinvestment in school buildings, the allocation of new funding via competitions to insufficient action on rising levels of child poverty, mental distress, and blatant profiteering by some private providers of children’s homes.

He continued “Clearly this country is not currently working for all children, we need the government to recognise this and act in a long term way. The need for action on child and family poverty, a new approach to funding and addressing the workforce crisis is arguably stronger than ever before. We need government to recognise its role in addressing these challenges and to work with councils and other public services to take action on deep rooted injustices and inequalities, which are widening rather than closing.”

Read the full report here.

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Published on 23rd February 2024