Austerity is damaging services for children

Children’s social care has seen a dramatic surge in demand over recent years and, as a result, it has moved up the agenda for local and national government.

The LGA revealed in January that a child is being referred to local authority children’s services every 49 seconds and that an average of 90 children entered care every day last year, which also saw the largest annual increase in care numbers since 2010.

Councils have warned the Government time and time again that ongoing funding cuts, including the £3 billion gap that councils’ children’s services are facing by 2025, have left them struggling to meet the increased demand that children’s social care now faces.

If local authorities aren’t given the injection of funding that is desperately needed, they will continue to struggle to give the support that vulnerable children need.

The combination of continued cuts from central government and the surge in demand for access to children’s social care means  that, in the past year alone, there was an  £816 million overspend in councils’ children’s social care budgets.

Councils have worked endlessly to protect funding for essential children’s services, but budget pressures from relentless Tory government cuts since 2010 have meant they often face the difficult choice of overspending to meet demand and making cuts to other essential council services.

It is time that the Government woke up and realised the damage that its austerity agenda is doing to the most vulnerable in society, and that it simply cannot continue.

Simply put, councils have tried to protect children’s budgets, but – with the continued financial pressures – this cannot be done any longer. The funding gap must be addressed to ensure that children’s services are protected and continue to support the most vulnerable in society, now and in years to come.

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