Impact of austerity on children’s services

Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“The impact of seven years of austerity on children and families cannot be underestimated. There are currently four million children living in poverty, two thirds of whom live in working households. Poverty damages life chances and puts enormous strain on family life, parenting is much easier when you can afford support like activities and holiday clubs, and much harder when you can’t afford the basics like food, clothes and rent. Sadly, this is the reality for a growing number of families. According to recent research led by Professor Paul Bywaters from Coventry University, where children live is a central factor in inequality, those living in the most deprived areas in England were 10 times more likely to be on a child protection plan or come into care than their peers from more affluent areas. This study raises a number of important questions for policy makers, not least why England is the only country in the UK without a child poverty reduction strategy and how other government policies, such as welfare reforms, are impacting on children’s lives.

“Since 2010 there has been an average 40% reduction in funding for local authorities, at the same time more and more families are finding themselves in or close to crisis resulting in demand for our services rising dramatically. Sustained reductions in our funding has limited our ability to step in early and offer help despite recognition that this, coupled with pressures in other public agencies, especially the NHS and police, severely diminishes our ability to step in and prevent problems from escalating to crisis point. ADCS believes this is contributing, in part, to the rising number of children coming into our care and has long-called for sufficient, long-term funding for children’s services.

“Our colleagues at the LGA have estimated that children’s services face £2bn funding shortfall by 2020. The upcoming autumn Budget is an opportunity for government to reaffirm their commitment to improving outcomes for children, young people and their families by investing in the services they rely on.”

ENDS


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