Heather Jameson 08 July 2020

ADCS president calls for welfare overhaul

The impact of the pandemic on children’s futures must not be underestimated, the president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has said.

Jenny Coles has called for an overhaul of the benefit system, and for central and local government to make children their priority as we head into recovery.

In a written statement to mark the start of the ADCS virtual conference, Ms Coles commended the ‘extraordinary leadership’ of children’s services directors and their teams during the ‘tsunami of pressures’ they faced from the pandemic.

But she claimed the impact of the lockdown and the absence of school on the future life chances of children should not be underestimated, and it had shone a ‘spotlight on inequalities and social injustice in our society’.

More than 21 years after the Blair Government vowed to eradicate child poverty, Ms Coles said she was ‘advocating for an overhaul of welfare reforms’ including ‘the ill-fated Universal Credit’ and the ‘loathsome benefit cap’.

‘Let’s be ambitious for children and families and support them to thrive, not just survive,’ she added.

Her comments are in advance of an ADCS discussion paper next week that will set out some of the issues children and families face as a result of COVID-19, and the department for Education’s role in restoring services.

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