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LGA - Councils respond to NSPCC’s “How Safe Are Our Children?” report

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, responded to the NSPCC’s “How Safe Are Our Children?” report

“The dramatic rise in the number of reports of emotional abuse is extremely concerning. Emotional abuse has been an area of growing concern for a number of years, and councils across the country have taken steps to make sure children referred to children’s services receive appropriate care and support.

“A nationwide study that looks at the frequency of child abuse and neglect would be a helpful step in building a better understanding of the scale of abuse across the country, but urgent action is required to ensure that services protecting children have the resources to respond quickly and efficiently to any crisis.

“Councils have worked hard to protect funding for child protection services, but ongoing cuts to local authority budgets are forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources.

“Pressure on children’s services is growing rapidly. In the last 10 years alone we have witnessed a 140 per cent increase in child protection enquiries and a funding gap of £2 billion is projected by 2020. Councils have responded to this funding crisis by reducing costs and finding new ways to deliver services. But there are very few savings left to find without having a real and lasting impact upon crucial services many children and families rely on.

“Early intervention has long been recognised as a way of limiting the need for children to enter the social care system. However, government cuts of almost £400 million since 2013 to the Early Intervention Grant have put councils in a difficult situation where they cannot afford to withdraw services for children in immediate need of protection to invest in early help instead.

“With pressures facing children’s services becoming rapidly unsustainable, we are calling on the Government to ensure that councils have the funding they need to tackle the early stages of abuse and keep children and young people safe in the years to come.”

View report here

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