Children’s social services have never had an easy job, but recently the challenge has taken on a whole new dimension.
At the same time as the overall spending power of local authorities is falling, councils are grappling with new challenges like online grooming and the increased number of refugee children.
An inquiry into the social care of children and young people, has found the system is struggling to keep pace with the rising numbers of children and families who need help, with nearly 90% of senior managers saying they find it increasingly difficult to provide children ‘in need’, including those with disabilities, families in crisis and those at risk of abuse and neglect, with the support they require.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children Inquiry heard repeatedly that local authorities are having to target dwindling resources toward children who have already suffered abuse or neglect, or those at a high risk of harm, rather than nipping problems in the bud. The shift toward late intervention makes it harder to engage with families before they reach crisis point. For some children this means, by the time social care services are involved, there is no option but for them to be taken into care.