Funding cuts to children's services have left councils unable to cope with the current crisis, charities have warned today.
New analysis by the Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau shows that councils can only afford to help children when they reach crisis point and need costly interventions.
The charities warn these overstretched services will be unable to cope with the spike in demand after the coronavirus crisis.
The research shows that funding for children’s services has fallen by £2.2bn in the past decade, with late intervention now accounting for 58% of local authority spending on children and young people’s services.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, said: 'Even before the lockdown children were facing growing challenges, from knife crime and gangs, to cyberbullying and online grooming. Now there is a new wave of "hidden" children, falling into poverty, experiencing domestic abuse and tipping the existing crisis in mental health into catastrophe.
'We know there will be a massive increase in demand for support, with the effects of the pandemic felt for years to come. But the overstretched system cannot cope, and the Government must step in to fund vital early intervention services, so families get the help they need before reaching crisis point.'
Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: 'This report echoes our concerns about the welfare of vulnerable children during the coronavirus crisis and adds further support to our longstanding call for children’s services to be properly funded by the Government.'