On 14 August 2017 Action for Children published a report entitled Revolving Door: are vulnerable children being overlooked? The report believes that children are stuck in a revolving door into social care, in a cycle of referral and assessment, but only receiving help at crisis point.
The Local Government Association stated that children’s social services were at ‘breaking point’. This surely is a result of years of budget cuts which has meant that often vital support services are no longer available for children in need of help.
Action for Children have examined whether children who are vulnerable but do not meet the criteria for statutory support, were directed to early help services that could help them and their families and shockingly the figures in 2015-16 show that there were 184,500 children referred to children’s social care whose cases were closed as ‘no further action’ after assessment. Only one in four children were referred to early help services such as children’s centres or domestic violence programmes. This leaves an estimated 140,000 children on the fringes of social care without support. It found that common needs are domestic violence, neglect, physical abuse, parental mental health and substance misuse.
Often other family members are able to step in and care for these children however are commonly overlooked by children’s services. There are services such as Grandparents Plus who aim to limit this number of children without support or family care.
It is clear that the Government need to strengthen the statutory framework for early help services and provide adequate funding to local authorities so they can provide help as soon as children need it rather than waiting for a crisis point which in some cases is too little too late.
At Jacksons we work with Grandparents Plus and provide assistance for all family members who require support during difficult periods. If you require our assistance please contact Louisa Bestford on 0191 2069617 or Emma Canham on 0191 2069621.