In September 2017, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPGC) launched an inquiry into the causes and consequences of varying thresholds for children’s social care. The Inquiry’s findings are published in the report ‘Storing up trouble: a postcode lottery of children’s social care’.
This vital document exposes major failures in the system designed to support families and children. The main concerns raised:
• Thresholds for child protection or enabling access for support are often too high and thresholds vary significantly between local authorities
• Children in need of a child protection plan are, in 2/3 of cases, being left vulnerable to continued abuse or neglect
• Only a “small proportion” of resources is spent on early help and family support
• Families and children in need experience a high turnover of social workers assigned to them
A persistent theme in the report is that support often comes very late, i.e. when a child is at risk of being taken into care. This increases cost to the state and delays the opportunity to relieve suffering. “Tolerance” for early help is “based on resources” – there is simply not enough capacity in the system.
One major conclusion that we can draw is that short term failure to offer appropriate services leads to long term increased cost and more children suffering the impact of developmental trauma and needing more complex services later on.
The report acknowledges (without specific reference) that there is often a combination of Adverse Childhood Experiences present for children in need of early help.
Help us help children and adults recover from early developmental trauma – a right acknowledged by the United Nations and signed by the U.K. under the UN Convention on the rights of a child.