£743 million funding drop for early children’s services

Statistics examining the government spending on children’s services has revealed that budgets for ‘early intervention’ children’s services have dropped by £743 million in the last five years.

The 26 per cent decrease means that prevention services which are in place to help stop family problems such as abuse and neglect spiral out of control are at risk of suffering.

Furthermore, the figures show that budgets for children’s centres across England have dropped by £450 million in the last five years, representing a decrease of 42 per cent, while budgets for safeguarding and children in care across England have increased by £597 million in the last five years - an increase of 10 per cent.

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “Crippling cuts in government funding are putting councils in an impossible position, leaving them with no option but to cut budgets for vital early help services that protect vulnerable children. We know from our own work that without the safety net of well-funded early help services like children’s centres, thousands of children at risk of abuse, neglect or domestic violence are being left to fend for themselves until problems spiral out of control. This failure to act with the right help, at the right time, will inevitably have devastating consequences for some children that last a lifetime.

“As these figures clearly show, it also makes no financial sense to cut early help as councils are then forced to spend vast amounts on expensive crisis interventions, ‘firefighting’ problems after they have escalated. The government needs to allocate additional, dedicated funding for children’s services at next year’s Spending Review. Without urgent action, we risk failing thousands more children across the country.”

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