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LGA responds to APPG for Children's report into children's social care
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, responds to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children's report into Children's Social Care in England which found that increasing demand and cuts to funding are putting services under immense pressure.
"Councils have been warning government for some time that the pressures facing children's services are rapidly becoming unsustainable, with a combination of government funding cuts and huge increases in demand leaving many areas struggling to cope. The number of inquiries into child protection concerns undertaken by councils has increased by 124 per cent over the past decade, and the number of children needing child protection plans has increased from 26,400 to more than 50,000 over the same period – an increase of more than 23,000 children needing social work support to stay safe from significant harm.
"Councils have worked hard to protect funding for child protection services in response to this rapidly rising demand, but ongoing cuts to local authority budgets are forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources.
"The LGA's most recent analysis suggests that councils will be facing a £1.9 billion funding gap for children's services by 2020, and in many areas the pressure on children's budgets is now even greater than that faced by adult social care. Councils have responded by reducing costs and remodelling services, but we must be clear that there are very few savings left to find without having a real and lasting impact upon crucial services that many people across the country have come to rely on.
"Despite these huge pressures, it is important to recognise that social workers continue to provide heroic levels of support in local authorities throughout the country, and their tough decisions and swift actions are saving children's lives every day. The number of children dying due to homicide or assault has fallen by 69 per cent in England since 1985, and remains in long-term decline. But the pressure on these services is building, and the Government must act now to ensure that councils have the funding they need to keep children and young people safe in the years to come".
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