‘Invest in children’

The 1989 Act puts children at the centre of any decisions that affect them, with councils given the role of safeguarding and promoting their welfare.

At the National Children and Adults Services Conference in Bournemouth last week, the LGA set out the next stage of its children’s services funding campaign, Bright Futures.

This call for funding would ensure councils can deliver their legal duties, protect preventative services and improve the lives of children and families.

Investment in early help family support services can result in fewer children entering care or needing more intensive interventions, saving money and improving outcomes for children in the long run. The council-run Troubled Families programme has seen a 32 per cent reduction of children going into care and fewer children have received custodial sentences and convictions.

The estimated cost of intervening too late is nearly £17 billion per year, or £287 per person. Councils’ share of the bill is £6.4 billion, with the NHS picking up £3.4 billion and the Department for Work and Pensions £2.7 billion.

Bright Futures also calls on the next government to set out its ambitions for children and to work across Whitehall, recognising that all departments impact on the lives of children and families.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The Children’s Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were landmarks and we owe it to every child and young person to fulfil their visions.

“For this to happen, the next government needs to make sure children and young people are not forgotten by putting them at the centre of all decision-making.”

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