Charity investigates impact of recession on vulnerable families
Flaws in the funding of children’s services are creating a ‘ticking time bomb for both vulnerable children and UK taxpayers’, according to a report from Action for Children.
The children’s charity has investigated the impact of the recession on more than 46,000 children across 150 communities in the country. The Red Book 2012 report found:-
- Two out of three of the most vulnerable families are struggling with more severe problems than a year ago.
- More than 50 per cent of staff are reporting increasing demand so over stretched services are forced to focus on crisis intervention rather than cost-effective preventive services.
- Short-term funding is placing further pressures on services' capabilities to make a lasting difference to vulnerable children and their families.
Action for Children's Chief Executive, Dame Clare Tickell, said, "The Red Book 2012 highlights problems that, while new to individual children and families, have persisted for decades. We are sitting on a ticking time bomb that has the potential for both human and financial repercussions.
"We welcome the coalition government's commitment to early intervention but the current system of short-term, quick-fix funding is simply exacerbating existing need and instability, creating a false economy that could cost society more than £1.3 billion a year,” Tickell added.
To prevent problems escalating for vulnerable children and their families, and a rise in child protection and care costs, the charity is calling for the three main political parties to:-
- introduce a statutory duty upon local authorities to provide sufficient early intervention services in their local area
- commit to alternative and long-term funding arrangements for local children's services with a shift to early intervention.
To find out more about the report The Red Book 2012 webpage