The LGA has called for £1.7 billion in government cuts to early intervention funding to be reversed, as councils prepare for a surge in demand for support for children and young people who have “disappeared” during the pandemic.
Councils are bracing themselves for a rise in referrals for support that would have normally been made when children were being seen regularly by social workers, schools and health workers.
The Early Intervention Grant fell from £2.8 billion in 2010/11 to £1.1 billion in 2018/19, forcing children’s services departments to cut back on early help services that can help tackle and prevent emerging problems before they reach crisis point.
In a new report, ‘A child-centred recovery’, the LGA calls for restoration of the lost £1.7 billion and for the Government to work with councils and providers to increase the availability of care placements for looked-after children and young people.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Children’s services were already under strain prior to the pandemic, but those pressures have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and these services are now even more crucial to help families get through difficult periods.
“Support for significant interventions, including child protection plans and children entering the care system, will be needed, alongside proper investment in both children’s mental health services and vital youth services to help a generation hit hard during the crisis.
“The Government’s review of the children’s care system needs to begin as soon as possible, but we want to work with ministers ahead of this on increasing provision for care placements so councils can continue to best support and protect our most vulnerable children.”