Cuts to Early Intervention Funding – The Real Cost
In the last 5 years we've seen successive spending cuts by the government, and the services that step in to provide vital early care and support to children and young people who are vulnerable or at risk of harm have not been spared.
Children's charities are voicing concerns that funding cuts to these vital early intervention services could be linked to a rise in child protection cases, as children and young people are no longer getting the help they need.
Spending Cuts Set to Continue
A report by two leading children's charities, The Children's Society
and the National Children's Bureau
, titled Cuts that Cost: Trends in Funding for Early Intervention Funding, identified that early intervention funding has been cut by almost half. Funding has fallen from £3.2 billion in 2010 to £1.4 billion in 2015.
It also appears that the cuts are not set to stop here, as found following a Freedom of Information request by Children and Young People Now
A Rise in Child Protection Cases
Early intervention support is vital in stepping in to ensure that the right help is given, turning a situation around that may otherwise have ended in a child protection case
. Worryingly, the report suggests that the funding cuts may now be causing an increase in these cases
The report found that between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the numbers of care applications rose by 5%
. These numbers are still continuing to rise, with the 2015-16 figures so far detailing that Cafcass
are receiving 11% more applications compared to last year
Jenna Eldrett, our Associate Solicitor specialising in Family Law
, voices her concerns:"It is extremely worrying that this report shows that experts in social work and child protection are suggesting a potential link between the rise of child protection cases and the reduction in spending on early intervention services.""These services provide vital help and assistance to those families who need it most. All children should have the right to be protected. It's so important that we ensure this, and more than that, that they are given the opportunity to live safe, happy and fulfilling lives."
Cuts to early intervention funding may actually incur greater costs for the government further on down the line if the failure to intervene results in child protection cases. But more importantly, these cuts could be holding children, young people and their families back from improving their lives