Responding to new research by The Children’s Society on teenagers living with parents suffering from depression or anxiety and who have witnessed alcohol abuse or domestic violence, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“This research highlights the incredible complexity of issues facing young people and their families, demonstrating the importance of all agencies at local and national level working together and considering how their policies and practice will impact on young people.
“We know that both children and adults’ mental health services are under growing pressure, while public health funding, which pays for vital alcohol treatment programmes and other community support, has been cut by more than half a billion pounds by the Government in the last five years. Councils are also housing an extra secondary school’s worth of homeless children every month.
“Councils aim to help struggling families at an early stage, before issues become serious, but demand for child protection support has increased dramatically at the same time as local authority budgets from central government have faced significant cuts. This is forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources, and early help services 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. If nothing is done to address this, crucial services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on will be at risk.
“We are calling on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to commit to funding children’s services and public health properly so that families can get the right help at the right time.”