The County Councils Network has announced a report which shows that up to 600 young people per day are being referred to councils’ children’s services, with most of the councils saying there was an increased demand for mental health and family services since lockdown was eased.
CCN reported in their survey, a 15% increase in demand for these services in July, August and September when compared to the previous 3 months when services and schools were closed for the majority of young people.
In anticipation of the Spending Review next week, CCN is calling on the government to renew the Troubled Families programme next year, which is worth £165m to help councils address these newly emerging family issues as a result of the pandemic.
The network is also urging Government to widen the scope of the programme with an increase in funding so it can better embrace mental health support to prevent issues spiralling out of control and burdening the health service.
Cllr Keith Glazier, children and young people spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:
“The impacts of the pandemic will be far reaching for all of us, and especially for young children who lost months of schooling but also safeguarding and support earlier this year. Over that period, we feared an invisible crisis and that abuse and other issues were going unchecked behind closed doors and since the first lockdown has ended, we have seen a rise in referrals.
“As well as an increase in referrals councils are also facing the additional costs of the pandemic, with the vast majority forecasting significant overspends on their children’s services budgets this year. This is why we urgently need the government to renew its Troubled Families programme, alongside targeted investment for children’s social care so we can give families the help and support they need.”