Parents concerned by cuts to children’s services

Parents are concerned about the impact of financial cuts to children’s services, according to a survey by Barnardo’s.

Almost a third of parents fear the impact of cuts to children’s services, education, early years services and youth clubs, the Barnardo’s-commissioned YouGov poll of parents of 4 to 18 year olds across the nation found.

Local authorities are facing a £3bn funding gap for services by 2025 and the children’s charity says that it is vital that the government gives them enough resources to plug the gap. Barnardo’s has joined with other children’s charities and the Local Government Association, to call on the Prime Minister to ensure that children’s services have enough resources. The group is also urging people to join the campaign by emailing their MP to ask them to take a stand for vulnerable children.

The poll of parents of 4 to 18 year olds was carried out to find out what their hopes and fears are for their children in the next year. It emerged that 86% of parents had concerns about what 2019 will have in store for their children, with 55% saying they were either fairly concerned or very concerned and 31% saying that they were not very concerned.

Around a quarter said they are concerned their children may develop mental health issues and not get appropriate or timely support. Just under a fifth (19%) are worried their children will be affected by drugs or knife crime, either as a victim or a perpetrator.

However, the poll revealed that parents’ worst fears for 2019 included the effecet of Brexit and exam and school stress: 42% of parents said they were worried about their children suffering exam and school stress and 40% said they were worried that Brexit may have a negative impact on their child’s future. Worries about their children being bullied, either online or offline, came in a close third at 38%.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “This poll provides a unique insight into what parents think as we near the end of 2018, and also provides some warning signs about problems that could develop if they aren’t treated.

“It is troubling, although not surprising, that more than two fifths of parents (42%) are concerned about their children being stressed about school and exams.

“Learning how to cope with stress is a vital life skill. Without this, children can find it overwhelming, and then it can develop into a serious mental health issue. Schools must look at ways of how to reduce the stress their pupils face, and how to deal with it.

“The government must also take note of parents concerns about cuts to children’s services and provide much needed funding to plug the £3billion shortfall in funding. Otherwise, we will see even less support for the vital work children’s services do – like counselling children to overcome trauma, helping them to stay in education or making sure they have a secure home,” he added.

The survey revealed however that almost 80 per cent of parents hoped their children will feel loved and supported, 73% are hoping they will be mentally and physically healthy and 71% hope their children will receive a good education or training.

Other top hopes for next year include their children developing healthy friendships (71%) and 70% hoping they will be resilient and able to deal with any challenges they may face.

Thirty-five per cent say they hope Brexit will lead to good future opportunities for their children.

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