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Close the children’s services funding gap


15 November 2017

Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2 billion by 2020.

Between us, we have spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services, including early help for vulnerable families, will have long term consequences for our country’s children and families.

Sadly, recent statistics appear to bear this out. The number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013.

Local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365 million in 2014/15 just to keep children safe. The following year, that figure had risen to £605 million.

Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services - particularly those services that help children early - that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives.

Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair, LGA Children and Young People Board

Javed Khan, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s

Sir Tony Hawkhead, Chief Executive, Action for Children

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau

In their own words

“Councils are deeply committed to supporting children and young people, but the services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on are at serious risk due to rising demand and unprecedented funding pressures. Simply put, children’s services are at a tipping point. Government has to take immediate action and provide the funding we need to deliver the support our children deserve.” Cllr Richard Watts, Chair, LGA Children and Young People Board

“It’s vital funding is found to provide essential early support services. If families are helped to tackle issues early on, this reduces the likelihood of problems developing and leading to longer term difficulties. By investing in these services, we are investing in our future.” Javed Khan, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s
“Punishing savings targets from central government have given local authorities no option but to drastically shrink or abandon family support services up and down the country, leaving huge numbers of children without the help they need. Without the necessary resources to fund essential services that support families early before more serious and complex problems arise, we are missing crucial opportunities to best help children, young people and their families. We are calling on the government to honour its pledge to give all children the best start in life and prioritise spending on the services they and their families desperately need now.” Sir Tony Hawkhead, Chief Executive, Action for Children
"Drastic Government cuts to funding for local children’s services hit the most vulnerable teenagers hardest. When vital services are stripped back, more and more teenagers face struggling alone with serious problems mounting up in their lives. We’ll continue to campaign for much needed investment in essential children’s services."  Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

"The local authority services that vulnerable children rely on are seeing their funding steadily eroded just as growing numbers are being referred to them for help, leaving some councils struggling to support even those children facing considerable crisis. We urgently need additional investment in children’s services so that children and families get proper help, as and when they need it." Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau