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BASW member tells MPs the true impact of austerity measures

This week, BASW member Sophie Greenchester told a room full of MPs about the full impact austerity policies are having on children’s services.
Speaking at a meeting initiated by BASW, MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Work, heard straight from the frontline as Greenchester described how cuts to preventive services have increased state involvement in children’s lives.
“Local authorities have to make really difficult decisions about where to spend their money. That has meant there is a focus on child protection and looked after children and rightly so but what it moves away from is that early help care and preventative services that may prevent things going so bad for that child and family,” said Greenchester.
She gave numerous examples of how this short-sighted approach plays out in practice. Such as a mother granted indefinite leave to remain but with a no recourse to public funds clause who when unable to work (and afford childcare) requires local authority support with housing and living costs.
Then there was a duty call involving a woman from the EU who had a psychotic episode in hospital after giving birth. She had previously booked into antenatal care which could have picked up on her vulnerabilities but didn’t receive it as she was told she had to pay for the service, which she couldn’t afford.
“So, we now have a mum in an acute hospital, a baby in intensive care cared for by midwives and because we know nothing about the wider family the child will most likely go into foster care.
“In addition to emotional cost, the financial cost of this is far greater than if we had given her antenatal care.”