The best way to make a difference is to prevent problems at the outset

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Today, hidden by the noise over changes to corporation taxes and business rates, the Chancellor’s famous red box quietly set off a ticking time bomb for children and families.

While the budget included some much needed respite for adult’s social care there was no mention of support for children’s social care.

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The crisis in social care not only affects adults - insufficient funding in the face of growing need is just as damaging to children and young people.

Every year, the number of children who need help, whether because they are no longer safe at home or because their health and development is at risk, grows.

The rate and number of “children in need” and “looked after children” have increased year on year since 2010. 

We know that councils have worked hard to maintain statutory services for crisis intervention but have had to reduce funding to address problems early.

Our research found that central Government funding for early help services for children, young people and families are predicted to fall by 71% between 2010 and 2020. These services are important.

READ OUR LOSING IN THE LONG RUN REPORT

Mums and tots watch the magic show at Action for Childrens Vancouver Childrens Centre

The best way to make a difference is to prevent problems at the outset. Community and family support services give parenting advice, new skills, practical and emotional help.

This helps families before problems spiral out of control, making them stronger and more able to cope with difficulties. But these vital local support services are stretched to breaking point and some have gone completely.

The Chancellor’s speech talked a lot about training and education for productivity and jobs. While education is indisputably important, the Government has overlooked help to do the most crucial job of all – being a parent.

The budget today showed that the Government can listen, with steps being taken to support adult’s social care. We now need the same recognition for the services children and families so desperately need.  

Leanne

Single mum Leanne has been supported by our services on and off for 11 years. She says: "I’d moved here from a different area when the boys were babies. 

I got involved with Action for Children and started taking my youngest to my local centre and putting him in a group with other kids was brilliant for him.

It was the only social interaction he had and it also provided support for me as well. If I’m at home when I’m having a bad day it seems so much bigger, but here, there’s always someone you can talk to or have a cry.”

Read Leanne's story

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