William Eichler 17 October 2018

Thousands of babies at risk due to children’s services cuts

Thousands of babies at risk due to children’s services cuts image

There are nearly 16,000 babies growing up in households where they are at risk from harm, the commission that monitors the care of children has warned.

A report published today by the Children’s Commissioner for England shows there are 15,800 babies under the age of one considered by councils to be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘highly vulnerable’.

The commissioner, Anne Longfield, links the high number of vulnerable babies to the fact that local authorities are ‘struggling with unprecedented financial pressures’ that are putting increasing strain on children’s social services.

‘This important research shows hundreds of the most vulnerable young children are at risk of harm,’ she said.

‘As children’s services budgets come under increased pressure, we cannot just cross our fingers and hope for the best. Babies are too vulnerable and deserve better.’

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Children and Young People Board, said these new figures showed the ‘colossal challenge facing councils and their partners as they try to address growing levels of need with rapidly diminishing resources.’

‘While it is absolutely vital that councils are able to support families and help children who are at risk of significant harm, they also need to be able to intervene before problems escalate to that point,’ she said.

‘But this is being put at risk by the significant financial pressure that children’s services across the country are now under, with many councils being pushed to the brink by unprecedented demand.’

Cllr Bramble said there was currently ‘a record number’ of children entering care at a rate of 90 a day. Around 182 child protection plans are started by councils everyday, she added, and a child is referred to children’s services every 49 seconds.

‘Despite councils’ best efforts to protect spending on children’s services, they have too often been forced to reduce or stop the very services which are designed to help children and families before problems begin or escalate to the point where a child might need to come into care,’ she concluded.

Alice Miles, the Children’s Commissioner’s director of strategy and author of the report, said: ‘With local authorities under such pressure financially, and troubled families funding coming to an end in 2020, it’s vital that ministers make the protection of vulnerable children a priority in policy and funding.

‘The country is rightly shocked and outraged when serious case reviews reveal the circumstances in which young children live and sometimes die; however, sadly these are the tip of the iceberg.’

‘The Government has an opportunity in the Budget and next year’s spending review to make sure the funds are in place to ensure that they are properly protected,’ added Ms. Longfield, referring to babies who are at risk of harm.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Chief Executive

South Kesteven District Council
Up to £127k
South Kesteven is a district with plenty going for it. Grantham, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: South Kesteven District Council

ASC Occupational Therapist - Early Intervention Team

Essex County Council
£30300 - £41425 per annum
We are looking to recruit 2 Occupational Therapists to work within Clacton or Colchester. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dy England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Youth Support Worker DofE

Essex County Council
£995 - £1049 per annum
Our Youth Support Workers work with young people completing their Duke of Edinburgh's Award, supporting them to complete all sections, including their expeditions. England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Duke of Edinburgh Team Leader

Essex County Council
£19260 - £21682 per annum
We are currently seeking a Youth Work Team Leader to supervise the development of the Duke of Edinburgh program and delivery of youth work projects, as well as work directly with young people in informal settings and maintain professional and purposeful r England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine