Children’s charities have released new analysis suggesting children’s services could struggle with expected increases in demand once the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic is realised.
Reports published by Action for Children, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, The Children’s Society and Barnado’s, point to the poor state of children’s services after 10 years of “crisis-driven firefighting” by councils. Analysis indicates funding from central government has fallen by £2.2 billion between 2010/11 and 2018/19 leading to spending on early help falling by almost half (46 per cent) over this period.
The charities are calling for the government to deliver a rescue package to allow councils to guarantee that much needed services will be provided after the lockdown ends
Action for Children’s deputy chief executive Carol Iddon commented “The coronavirus crisis has exploded into the lives of vulnerable families after a decade of decline in available funding for services that protect children from harm.
A system geared only for crisis, guarantees more children will end up in crisis and we’re here because for ten long years councils have been backed into an ever-tighter corner, with no choice but to abandon early help services that stop family problems like domestic abuse or neglect from spiralling,
“We risk being unprepared for the fallout for families from the coronavirus crisis. The right thing to do for children - and the smart thing to do for public finances - is for the government to invest in early help services now, to stem the torrent of children being taken into care and reverse the ballooning financial and social cost of years of under investment."
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