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BASW welcomes ADCS’ report on children’s services

New research provides further evidence of the growing pressures to safeguard children in an era of austerity

BASW welcomes today’s report, Safeguarding Pressures, from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ACDS) that highlights the serious challenges facing children’s services and increasing demand on social workers.

Looking back over ten years of national figures for children in need and in care, as well as funding for local authorities and public services, the report illustrates the increasing challenges children and families are facing in an era of austerity, and in turn, the increasing pressures social services are facing to meet rising demand.  

Stuart Gallimore, ADCS president, concluded: "There is not enough money in the system to meet the level of need we are now seeing, and further cuts are planned. This is compromising our ability to improve children's life chances.”

We endorse the full statement from the ACDS issued today and agree that children’s services cannot continue to respond to the growing pressures to provide early help services and safeguard children in an era of austerity.

Part of the report reinforces issues that BASW has highlighted and continues to campaign on, that social workers work tirelessly to improve outcomes for children and their families but increasingly our members are telling us that thresholds are increasing, preventative services are disappearing and children and families are not getting the right support at the right time. 

BASW Chair Gerry Nosowska says: “The research is further evidence that sustained, deliberate cuts to essential services have led to families struggling and children coming to harm.

“Our society must address the context that our children are growing up in and ensure that they have the opportunity to thrive."

A new insight from the report comes from its use of predictive modelling.

The research states that “…investment through the Troubled Families programme has enabled local authorities to work creatively, with half of respondents stating that this vital funding underpins their early help offer [however]...this funding is set to end in 2020 and the majority of respondents said this will have a negative impact with, three quarters stating that nearly all early help services would be cut in their local areas.”

“Piecemeal short term funding streams are not sustainable; we must listen to practitioners and organisational leaders across the sector about the reality and impact of financial funding gaps,” says BASW England committee Chair, Andy Gill.

“We hope there will be open and transparent debate and a solution focused approach at the National Children and Adult Directors Conference next week with organisational leaders, elected members, government representatives, BASW and other stakeholders.”