Latest Public Sector News

14.09.17

Children slipping deeper into crisis before being offered help

Children are having to fall deeper into crisis before they are offered any help from local services, a survey of social workers released this week has shown.

The research, conducted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPGC), surveyed 1,600 social workers in England.

Around 70% of respondents reported that the threshold for qualifying as a ‘child in need’ had sharply risen over the last five years, whilst 60% said that resources available to children’s services influenced decisions about whether to offer early help.

Social workers also said that thresholds for receiving more urgent support had risen, with half reporting that thresholds had risen for making children the subject of a child protection plan while 54% said the same about applying for a care order.

The research comes as the APPGC launches a new inquiry into thresholds for children’s social care following warnings that many councils were struggling to meet rising levels of demand in March.

It also follows analysis from the LGA that found that councils had exceeded children’s social care budgets by £605m last year.

Tim Loughton, chair of the APPGC, said: “This is an important piece of work providing extensive evidence from many social workers who deal with these issues day in day out across the country and must be addressed urgently by ministers.

“There is now a very real fear that intervention for an increasing number of children is being determined not by vulnerability and threat of harm but by finances and availability of support.”

Loughton also stated that children’s services was a “false economy”, both financially and socially, which can have a lasting impact on a child’s life chances.

“We risk entering a perfect storm where rising numbers of children in need, increasingly stretched social workers and a growing number of children’s services departments coming up wanting in inspections and having to focus on restructure, will inevitably mean more vulnerable children are unable to get the attention they need at the early stage when it can have the greatest impact,” he explained.

And Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the NCB, added: “This is further evidence that children’s social care is becoming an emergency service, as councils struggle to meet their statutory duties to vulnerable children with dwindling resources and rising need.

“Central government must act now, so that struggling families and children get the help when they need it, not just when they’re in immediate danger of harm.

“We also urge the government to think bigger and consider how changes to health, welfare and housing policy can create the right conditions for children to thrive.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >