Social care directors have called on the government to provide children’s services with a ‘sustainable, equitable and long-term financial settlement’ as people prepare for the autumn and further lockdowns.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services’ (ADCS) formal submission to the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review calls on ministers to make investing in prevention, SEND, care, and education a priority in years to come.
It warns that Covid-19 has further increased the pressures on councils and while emergency funding from government has helped, it is no substitute for a long-term financial settlement that will benefit.
It warns that the government’s current ‘piecemeal’ approach to funding is ‘not conducive’ to dealing with the rising demand for children’s services.
And it says over recent years, councils have developed robust evidence of approaches that work to meet the needs of children and families and reduce demand, and the government now needs to fund the national roll out of these so everyone can benefit.
‘Before the pandemic, there was not enough money in the system to meet the level of need in our communities, Covid-19 has further illuminated and significantly exacerbated that inadequate baseline of funding,’ said ADCS president, Jenny Coles.
‘We are seeing newly vulnerable families who we’ve never worked with coming to our attention because of issues such as domestic abuse, neglect and financial hardship, and escalating levels of need amongst those who were already facing challenges.
‘It’s time to do things differently,’ added Ms Coles.
‘We have evidence that working with children and families at the earliest opportunity, using relational, strengths-based practice models works but this requires a resource intensive long term approach.
‘ADCS is calling on government to provide children’s services with a sustainable, equitable and long-term financial settlement that enables children to thrive, not just survive in the wake of the pandemic, and prevents the need for further cuts to early help and preventative services. I want to see the Treasury use the Spending Review to reboot how it invests in children and children’s services recognising the relationship between spending on vulnerable children now and future spending on vulnerable adults tomorrow. Children and families cannot wait any longer for this.’
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