Laura Sharman 15 October 2020

Councils call for urgent reversal of early intervention cuts

The Government must ‘urgently’ reverse the £1.7bn early intervention funding cuts in order to avoid families falling into crisis, councils have warned today.

The Early Intervention Grant has been reduced by almost two-thirds since 2010, down from £2.8bn to £1.1bn in 2018-19.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warned this has forced councils to close services and are calling on the Government to restore the lost money in the Spending Review.

It said councils are bracing themselves for a surge in demand as a result of the pandemic such as a rise in referrals for increased family, child and adolescent support.

Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Support for significant interventions, including child protection plans and children entering the care system, will be needed, alongside proper investment in both children’s mental health services, which are under enormous strain, and vital youth services to help a generation hit hard during the crisis.

’The Government’s review of the children’s care system needs to begin as soon as possible, but we want to work with ministers ahead of this on increasing provision for care placements so councils can continue to best support and protect our most vulnerable children.’

Donna Molloy, director of policy at the Early Intervention Foundation, added: 'I believe early intervention and early help must be an integral part of the recovery from COVID-19, to support families before problems become entrenched and to mitigate the risk of escalation into statutory services. Without a significant uplift in funding, it’s likely that many local authorities and their partners will struggle to manage this increased demand and ensure that children and families receive effective and appropriate support.'

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