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New report: Flawed support for most vulnerable children creating time bomb for society
15 October 2012
A new report by Action for Children reveals how fundamental
flaws in the funding of vital children's services are creating a
ticking time bomb for both vulnerable children and UK
The Red Book report is our annual investigation into the real
impact of the recession and Government spending decisions on over
46,000 children whom we support in 150 communities across the
The Red Book 2012, published today, highlights that two out of
three of the most vulnerable families are struggling with more
severe issues than a year ago.
Yet in April just 12 per cent of the planned public spending
cuts had taken place - and with dramatic welfare reforms still to
be implemented, Action for Children is warning that the situation
is only going to get worse.
51 per cent of surveyed staff are reporting increasing demand,
which means already-stretched services are being forced to focus on
crisis intervention rather than more cost effective preventative
Services' capacities to make a lasting difference to children
and families' lives are being further compromised by short-term
funding, with 91 per cent operating on contracts that will not
outlast the current Spending Review (May 2015).
Action for Children's Chief Executive, Dame Clare Tickell, said,
"The Red Book 2012 highlights problems that, while new to
individual children and families, have persisted for decades. We
are sitting on a ticking time bomb that has the potential for both
human and financial repercussions.
"We welcome the coalition government's commitment to early
intervention but the current system of short-term, quick-fix
funding is simply exacerbating existing need and instability,
creating a false economy that could cost society more than £1.3
billion a year.
"As changes to welfare, unemployment and the recession look set
to continue, we desperately need a shift from short-term thinking
to long-term strategies that put children first and short-term
To prevent problems escalating for vulnerable children and their
families, and a subsequent rise in child protection and care costs,
we are calling for the three major parties to work together to:
- introduce a statutory duty upon local authorities to provide
sufficient early intervention services in their local area
- commit to alternative and long-term funding arrangements for
local children's services, providing the security needed to achieve
better outcomes and a shift to early intervention
Dame Clare continued, "We need local services that have the
flexibility to deliver the early intervention that's so urgently
needed in communities right now. Simple changes to the way the
current system is funded are critical if we're to have any hope of
protecting future generations of children."
To find out more about the report and read the stories of the
twelve families we have been working with throughout our year-long
research, please visit The Red Book 2012 webpage.