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Comment: JTAI thematic on early help

Andy Smith, ADCS Vice President, said:

“There is no doubt the earlier we work with children and their families to overcome the issues they face, the less impact these challenges may have on their lives, and on society. Local authorities are committed to supporting families at the earliest possible opportunity but the current method of funding children’s services doesn’t enable this approach in all local areas; there is simply not enough funding in the system to meet the level of need in our communities. Too often funding is competitive or time limited, which means not all children benefit and future funding is uncertain, or it is taken out of the system and into the hands of private equity firms, profiteering on the backs of vulnerable children. The government must address this.

“This report highlights some of the good work taking place in the five local areas inspected as well as the importance of multi-agency working to meet the needs of our communities. Sadly, as the report notes a significant issue for all partners is funding challenges which can make prioritising early help services difficult, despite evidence of impact. The focus on early help and support for children and families in Stable Homes, Built on Love is welcome, but any reforms would need to be met with adequate funding, which both deals with existing demands and is sufficient to deliver the reforms. The government must take a long-term strategic view of how we invest in children and families and the public services that support them, particularly early help services. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also smart economic policy.”


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