Children’s social care reform fails to address £1.6bn shortfall - councils

By Mark Whitehead | 02 February 2023

English councils have welcomed a new long-term strategy for children’s social services but warned the proposed extra £200m of funding falls far short of what is needed.

The Government's children’s social care implementation strategy has proposed better support for vulnerable children to stay with their families.

Minister for children Claire Coutinho said the strategy would 'start a transformation in children's social care'.

The new strategy includes pilots in 12 local authorities to provide more early support for families struggling with challenges such as addiction, domestic abuse and poor mental health.

There will be more placements for children in care with relatives and friends, and a recruitment drive and above-inflation rise for foster carers.

Local Government Association chairman James Jamieson said much of the strategy was positive but said the funding fell short of addressing the current £1.6bn shortfall needed each year to maintain current service levels.

Chair of the Commission on Young Lives and former children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said the review was a ‘bold and ambitious plan’ but the proposed funding was ‘not yet ambitious enough to meet the enormous scale of the challenges facing the system'.

Ann McGauran reports on the Government’s response to a flurry of reports on children’s social care

Heather Jameson asks why do Governments of all colours persist in commissioning independent reviews and ignoring the outcomes?

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