Responding to a report by Care Crisis Review on the Children’s Social Care and Family Justice Sector, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“With councils currently supporting record numbers of children through the care system, this report is a timely contribution to the debate around how best to meet the needs of children and families before they reach crisis point.
“We are pleased that the review backs our call for the Government to plug the funding gap facing children’s services which will reach almost £2 billion by 2020. The report also recognises the importance of government departments fully considering how policies on issues such as welfare reform will impact on children and families. The LGA has previously called for the introduction of a children and young people impact assessment for public bodies to use alongside existing equalities impact assessments, to ensure that the needs of children are properly considered in all policy and legislative changes.
“The crisis facing children’s services goes beyond providing vital support to a record number of children in care. In addition, councils are also now starting more than 500 child protection investigations every day on average, and have a child referred to them every 49 seconds on a daily basis.
“The care that children and young people receive can be a positive life-changing experience and set them on the path of a thriving and prosperous future. The Government urgently needs to commit to fully funding these services so that councils can manage the rising demand for help, while also providing the additional resources they need to support families before problems escalate to the point where a child might need to come into care.”