Children’s services ‘in crisis’ because of cuts
Local authorities’ children’s services are being reduced to crisis-driven firefighting because of crippling central government funding cuts, according to a report by three charities.
The leading children’s charities are warning that early intervention services have been hardest hit by budget cuts.
As a result, councils can only afford to get involved once children have reached crisis point, which may then result in more costly interventions such as being taken into care, the charities say.
The report by the Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau says council spending on early intervention services, designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse, fell by 40% between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
The £2.4bn government funding cuts come at a time of growing demand for children’s services, with a 108% increase in child protection investigations.
The report also claimed that the poorest children had been the hardest hit, with the most deprived councils in England cutting spending on children’s services by 23%, six times as much as the least deprived councils.
Among the early intervention services affected by the cuts are parenting classes, children’s and youth centres, substance misuse prevention, teenage pregnancy support and short breaks for disabled children.