Lack of funding damaging children services

National Children’s Bureau research has warned that two-thirds of councillors feel they do not have enough funding to provide universal services for children and families.

With 87 per cent of councillors with responsibility for children’s services saying that demand for services had risen over the last two years, the Off the Radar report states that cuts to other services for families were a contributing factor.

Additionally, 41 per cent of councillors said a lack of funding was preventing them from meeting their statutory duties to children, with 36 per cent saying there was insufficient funding to help children in care.

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that across England local authorities are struggling to meet the needs of children and young people, including those at considerable risk. We should be stepping in to help these children as early as possible, but with two-thirds of lead members saying they have insufficient resources to provide universal services, prevention and early help are falling by the wayside, as councils are forced to prioritise funds for those closest to crisis.

“Strikingly, half of lead members responsible for children’s services linked growing pressure on services with poverty, illustrating the impact of deprivation on children. It’s clear that demand is growing for other reasons too, including cuts to other services and more children living with complex disabilities.”