The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has urged the production of a child poverty reduction strategy for England.
In a position statement, the ADCS states that four million children are living below the poverty line and two third of those children live in working households.
“This is a relatively new phenomenon and it is concerning for ADCS members that England does not have a child poverty reduction strategy, particularly in light of the Institute of Fiscal Studies prediction that the number of children living in poverty will increase to a staggering five million by 2020-21,” said the statement.
While councils across the country have safeguarded spending on child protection services to protect the most vulnerable, the unintended consequence of the government’s austerity programme has been to drive up demand for these services as more and more families find themselves at the point of crisis,” added the statement.
The Children Acts of 1989 and 2004 aimed to improve services for children by promoting early help and multi-agency working to bring about positive outcomes for children and young people. However, these preventative duties have never been sufficiently funded.
The statement adds that there has been a 40% funding reduction between 2010 and 2016 yet there has been a five per cent increase of children assessed as being in need, a 10% increase of children in care and a 29% increase in the number of children on a child protection plan.
“A cross-government review is needed to understand better the reasons for and links between rising levels of child poverty and demand for children’s statutory services and the results of this exercise should feed into the development of a child poverty reduction strategy for England,” said the statement.
“Local and central government must work together to develop a coherent workforce strategy for the totality of children’s services – we need to recruit and retain the best staff to work with children, young people and families, particularly the most vulnerable,” the ADCS concluded.