Report looks at how authorities are caring for children in a time of funding cutsNovember 22, 2018
In the midst of challenges to children and families brought by the austerity period, a report reveals how authorities are taking care of children. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has gathered qualitative & quantitative data from local authorities from the year 2007/8 to 2017/18 looking into six phases spanning in this period. The purpose of the study was to get details and understand better changes in demand for, and children’s social care provisions.
Of all the phases, the sixth one was found to have the highest ever response rate of local authorities to the issues of children in England. 92% of all the 140 local authorities had strategies that covered 11.3 million children and young children below 18. This means 95% of the children were cared for in this era where they faced pressures across the country. Findings that highlighted the caring of children by local authorities as of 31 March 2018 were documented in the report. These include:
– An estimated 2.4 million initial contacts made into social care in year 2017/18 showed a 78% increase over the past decade
– A 22% rise of children’s social care referrals in the past 10 years (Abuse and neglect being the primary reason for referrals)
– An 87% increase of the number of children subjects in child protection programmes in the past decade (When compared to the last 10 years, the number of children who become subjects of a child protection plan because of neglect doubled in 2017/18, as emotional abuse maintains a rise.
– About 644,430 Child in Need assessments were completed in 2017/18, 170,000 of which had domestic abuse as a factor (Here’s a concern for any of the family law practitioners in the UK including family law Manchester specialists)
– Up to £29.4 million was spent by 37 local authorities to support 1,867 families without an access to public funds after the effects of the government’s immigration policy
– Local authorities showed positive activity in a great deal to recruit, retain as well as support CPD for a skilled workforce.
It is the responsibility of the local authorities to keep the children from harm and also promote their welfare as noted by the ADCS. The Association talked of myriad changes in the past decade characterised by funding cuts. Since 2010, there has been a 50% reduction in local authority budget, which has been accompanied by reductions in other public agencies, the police, education and health being among the significant ones.
While ADCS has an estimate of more than 100 new duties being placed on children’s services to enhance children’s life chances and outcomes, most of these plans that have been there since 2011 are not always fully funded. One plan with success is the Troubled Families. This programme has enabled the local authorities to work innovatively. Half of the interviewed respondents said that this is an important funding that supports their timely help offer.
The Troubled Families investment has influenced better joint working and co-location with other professionals and also the ability to fund workers much needed by families. It is reported that this funding will end in 2020. A London authority commented that this will create an unsustainable vicious circle characterised by needs not met early or well, adding more pressure onto costly services, on the high end.
There are local authorities who have secured additional funding by bidding for small, time-limited pots of ringfenced funding. These are mainly possible through the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme. To tackle parental conflict and alcohol misuse other departments of the government like the Home Office, Department of Health, as well as Work and Pensions, have adopted the same approach. You can find a reputable family law Manchester specialist to offer legal advice and additional information on this report.