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BASW concerned about Action for Children report

Members say cuts to universal services provides background to alarming findings

BASW England is calling for greater investment in children’s wellbeing following a concerning report released this week by Action for Children.

The published survey warned that three generations of families fear that childhoods are getting worse.

It also revealed that vast numbers of children worry about ‘adult issues’ like Brexit and violent crime, whilst bullying – online and offline - emerged as the top obstacle to a good childhood. 

BASW England’s Children and Families Policy, Practice and Education Group (PPEG) are deeply concerned about this report, as it confirms many of the profession’s worries for both children and their parents/carers.

“Over the last decade we have seen a reduction in the universal services such as sure start centres which provided essential resources for children and their families,” says Gavin Moorghen, professional officer and Children & Families PPEG lead for BASW.  

“In addition, children have experienced growing financial hardship and poverty. We recently heard from our members branch in Worcester how children who grow up in impoverished households are more likely to suffer with anxiety as adults.

“Furthermore, the reported figure of 130,000 children waking up homeless on Christmas day leaves children with a sense of poverty being the norm – it is no wonder that this survey has raised these troubling findings.”

BASW members across the nations have also highlighted how the increasing challenges in practice and workforce have made the job harder.

One member from the Children & Families PPEG said, “…the increase in workloads on social workers and increase in administrative processes means it has become harder to provide that all important relationship based social work to the families we work with.” 

The issue of decreased funding for CAMHS and mental health support for children has also been raised by BASW members.  

For example, a Children’s Commissioners report at the end of last year highlighted that 74% of children referred to Birmingham CAMHS do not receive support, while only 7% of children referred are able to access support within six weeks.

A member commented: “Whereas in the past local authorities may have been able to support families under section 17, now, due to drastically reduced funding, they are reliant on charities, and voluntary sector, as well as bespoke organisations who access funding from other sources to offer the small amount of preventative work available.”

“It is critical we bring through more social workers – with our specialist understanding of children’s emotional and social development – to support children in need.”

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