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ADCS response: Action for Children report on early help

Responding to the report Too Little, Too Late: Early help and Early Intervention Spending in England Matt Dunkley, Chair of the ADCS Resources and Sustainability Policy Committee, said:

“This report outlines the difficult financial position local authorities are in and the value of early help services. There is no doubt that the earlier we work with children and families to help them overcome the issues they face, the less impact these challenges will have on their lives but also on society as a whole. The problem is there is currently not enough funding in the system to enable this approach in all local authorities. For years, ADCS and others in the sector have called for long-term funding in early help and preventative services. The investment in Family Hubs is a positive step, and will build upon some of the important work that local authorities are already doing, but there is clearly a long way to go. Reduced funding for local authorities alongside increased need for our help and support has led to tough decisions about scaling back services.

“Services most at risk include those that tackle the root causes of the problems children and families face before they escalate. Before the pandemic, children’s services were dangerously close to becoming a ‘blue light service’ but we are now seeing greater complexity of need being presented by children and families. As the cost of living increases, more people will be pushed into poverty and more children and families will need our support. All local authorities recognise the benefits of early help and intervention, we want to support families earlier to improve their outcomes and prevent them from reaching crisis point, but we need more financial support from government to do so. For the Treasury, long term, equitable national investment in early help for all local authorities is not only a smart and efficient economic policy, but also the right thing to do. Children and families cannot, and should not, wait any longer, their life chances depend on it.”


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