Councils call for children’s services funding gap to be closed

19 Feb 18

A £2bn funding gap in children’s social services must be rectified to deal with growing referrals related to domestic abuse, according to the Local Government Association.

The LGA said half of children referred to councils for “extra help” were either victims of or witness to domestic abuse.

LGA analysis of government data reveals council child protection inquiries have soared from 73,800 in 2006-07 to 185,450 in 2016-17, which in turn has placed enormous strain on children’s social services.

A package of reforms around domestic abuse was announced in the Queen’s Speech. The LGA said these needs to shift focus away from dealing with the aftermath of abuse to early intervention and prevention.

The LGA also reiterated calls for greater funding for children’s services and for the government to invest in preventative meaures, such as independent domestic violence advisers in hospitals who can identify abuse early on. Currently only 10% of hospitals have access to these types of practitioners.

Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “With almost two million victims of domestic abuse in the last year alone, we need the government to include early intervention and preventative measures in its comprehensive package of reforms to address domestic abuse as the best way to tackle the issue.”

He continued: “The government needs to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.

“An urgent injection of funding is also needed to protect the services that families rely on to tackle problems or recover form previous abuse.”

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