Mark Whitehead 14 August 2017

Vulnerable youngsters ‘left in limbo’ due to underfunding of social services

Local government children and young people's leader Richard Watts has backed a report showing vulnerable youngsters are being 'left in limbo'.

He warned that it shows underfunding and a huge increase in demand are pushing social services to breaking point.

The Action for Children charity estimates 140,000 children referred to social services over issues like drugs, alcoholism, domestic violence and neglect are not getting the help they need and are 'falling through the cracks'.

Its report, Revolving Door, says the children's needs are too great for schools, health or other services to meet on their own, but they are not eligible for support from statutory social care services.

Cllr Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) children and young people board, said Action for Children were right to highlight the significant challenge facing all agencies in making sure families can get help before problems become more serious.

He said: 'This report rightly recognises the increased pressures facing local authorities when it comes to protecting vulnerable children.

'As a result of funding cuts and huge increases in demand for services, the reality is that services for the care and protection of vulnerable children are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point.

'The number of referrals to local authority children’s services has increased by almost 9% over the past decade, while the number of children placed on a child protection plan as a result of those referrals has increased by more than 90%.

'This demonstrates the increasing level of need that councils are seeing, and the significant efforts they are taking to ensure that children are robustly protected.'

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