Children’s services provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable children and families in our area and across the country, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.
But I am concerned they are on the brink after eight years of austerity.
These cuts have created a crisis in the early intervention and support services that help our most vulnerable children, just at the time when there are more children in need than ever before.
The Local Government Association (LGA) notes that councils have worked hard to protect budgets for essential child protection services, but funding pressures have led to difficult decisions elsewhere, leaving children and young people unable to access support until they reach breaking point.
I am alarmed by the LGA findings that children’s services are facing a £3 billion funding gap by 2025.
In the Budget in October 2018, on children’s social care the Government provided £84 million over five years for up to 20 local authorities.
This will come nowhere near to addressing the national emergency facing children’s services.
Labour has pledged to give local government extra funding and re-focus social care to work with families in local communities to prevent children becoming at risk of going into care.
It further committed to tackle child poverty and pledged to invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
I believe that the Government must take urgent action to provide councils with the sustainable funding that is needed to meet demand for children’s services.
I can therefore assure you that I will continue to urge the Government to tackle the funding crisis facing children’s services across the country.