Councils have been forced to reduce spending on children’s centres by nearly £100 per child in the past three years, a charity has warned.
The report, published by Action for Children, shows that between 2014/15 and 2017/18, average spending on children’s centres by councils fell from £532 to £412 per child.
The report also found that the number of children using children’s centres in England fell by almost a fifth (18%) between 2014 and 2018. This figure rises to 22% in the most deprived local council areas.
Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: ‘Children’s centres have seen their budgets slashed by almost two-thirds since 2010. This has left them unable to continue to reach families across communities, leaving many thousands of new parents with nowhere to turn for early help support - a far cry from the idea of easily-accessible, one-stop-shops within pram-pushing distance.
‘From helping parents manage difficult behaviour and embed routines for their children, there are few things with which they’re not equipped to help. Crucially, they’re often the first place to identify serious issues like abuse and neglect and step in before problems spiral out of control.’
Action for Children is calling on the Government to use the forthcoming Spending Review to allocate additional funding to local councils to increase spending on children’s centres.