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No more fat left to trim in children’s services

No more fat left to trim in children’s services: The president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services has warned of a shortage of funding in the children’s social care system.

Speaking at the ADCs annual conference in Manchester, Stuart Gallimore refuted claims that there is enough money in the system but it is disproportionately spent on care placements over early intervention.

“Conference, be very clear – there is not enough money in the system, full stop. There is simply no fat left to trim, instead authorities up and down the country have found themselves having to cut back on early help services which makes no financial sense,” he told delegates.

“The frankly bonkers notion that the future of local government funding might be fairer if more of it was generated through the retention of business rates or new homes bonus will unequivocally not be in the best interests of children and will increase the disparity in local and regional funding,” he added.

Meaningful social work is all about investing in the skills that children and young people need for later life, which can combat the effects of disadvantage and improve social mobility and this required spending money on children and young people, he added.

Gallimore said the most important part of social care is frontline workers including social workers and ‘unsung’ residential workers. Their emotional wellbeing is key if they are to be effective as they bear the brunt of the public service reductions, he added.

He urged the government to invest in child poverty following predictions by the IFS that by 2022, there will be 5.2 million children living in poverty saying it is not only smart and efficient economic policy, but it is also “the right thing to do”.

“In the meantime, it’s our job in local government to do all we can to reduce the impact of poverty on children. This necessitates a wide lens view of social policy, an integrated approach that seeks to ameliorate the impacts of poor housing, family poverty, insecure work, social isolation and mental ill-health. If that’s not a public health challenge for the 21st century I don’t know what is,” he added.

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