Councils seek more funding for children’s social care

Council leaders from across the north west have signed a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond seeking further funding to tackle a growing crisis in the social care sector.

Figures show that there are more than 13,000 Looked After Children in the region, which is the greatest number of children in care of any region in England. Furthermore, there has been a rise of 12 per cent since 2013 alone, which is double the six per cent increase in the rest of the country.

The letter argues that the effects of austerity continue to hurt those most in need, causing the numbers of children and families needing help to rise to unprecedented levels.

Barry Kushner, lead member for the north west on the Children’s Services Network of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said: “There is a growing crisis in children’s social care in the north west and councils are struggling to cope. We know that the sustainable solution to reducing children’s social care is early intervention and stopping problems becoming crises. But the increasing costs of children’s social care is driving our limited resources away from funding early help. This is not good for families because we can only intervene when a situation has escalated out of control, or for society as we often end up taking children into care, which is far more costly and damages their life chances.

“It is not just us saying this, it is part of a national picture illustrated in the Turning the Tide report produced by Action for Children, National Children’s Bureau and the Children’s Society. As the Finance Bill makes its way through Parliament, we are asking the government to respond to the crisis of children’s social care, and provide adequate funding to meet these needs.”

Cabinet members from Blackpool, Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, Bury, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cumbria, Halton, Knowsley, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside, Warrington and Wirral signed the letter.