“Councils have been warning that the pressures facing children’s services are rapidly becoming unsustainable, with a combination of government funding cuts and huge increases in demand leaving many areas struggling to cope."
Responding to the Family and Childcare Trust’s school readiness survey, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“Investing in the early years is crucial if we are to give our children the best start in life. As this survey highlights, an increasing number of children are not school ready, which is in turn impacting on their learning as well as putting further strain on school resources.
“Councils have been warning that the pressures facing children’s services are rapidly becoming unsustainable, with a combination of government funding cuts and huge increases in demand leaving many areas struggling to cope.
“Councils have worked hard to protect funding for children’s services in response to this rapidly rising demand, but ongoing cuts to local authority budgets are forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources. It is those services which aim to support families at an early stage, before issues become serious, that have seen their funding reduced as councils are forced to prioritise urgent help for children at immediate risk of harm.
“Children’s services face a £2 billion funding gap by 2020, with many councils reporting that pressure on children’s budgets is now even greater than that faced by adult social care. Councils have responded by reducing costs and remodelling services, but it is clear that there are very few savings left to find without having a real and lasting impact upon crucial services that many people across the country have come to rely on.”