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LGA Responds to Fostering Network Report

Cllr Richard Watts responds to the Fostering Network's report looking at the impact of funding cuts on foster carers.

"Looking after children is one of the most important jobs a council does, and the work of trusted foster parents to provide care and a loving family to vulnerable children is paramount.

"Councils have worked hard to protect front-line children's services with spending on children and family services increasing between 2010 and 2013. Unfortunately, this has still amounted to a reduction in real terms, and didn't take into account increasing demand, particularly in high end child protection services. More than 20,000 extra children, an increase of more than 60 per cent, are now receiving intensive support through child protection plans than eight years ago.

"These pressures have left challenging choices elsewhere, and this report highlights some of the difficult decisions councils are forced to make every day. There are no easy choices as councils try to balance the immediate need to safeguard a child with the clear benefits that can come later from investment in vital support services and early intervention. It is increasingly difficult to do both at a time of falling budgets and rising demand.

"Between 2010-11 and 2019-20, early intervention funding from the Government to local authorities will have fallen from more than £3.2 billion to less than £1 billion. In the context of reduced funding for local government and a significant increase in demand for children's services, we urgently need to reform how funding is allocated across local services to stop families and children from reaching a crisis point in the first place, while protecting spend on essential high-end child protection services.

"Too many children are still unable to access dedicated mental health support when they need it, and it is vital that the system is joined-up to make sure that any child experiencing mental health issues gets the most appropriate support as quickly as possible."

View report: https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/sites/www.fostering.net/files/content/cuts_report.pdf

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