The cost of providing safe and secure care for children over the last 5 years has far exceeded the budget available. As Westminster Grants are cut back the costs continue to rise.
It is estimated that there has been an over spend of around £3bn in the budgets of local authorities for children’s safety. The Local Government Association (LGA) called on the Government to make use of the coming review of children’s social care as an opportunity to look at why the needs for care have increased and take the chance of addressing this problem.
In the last 10 years the number of children under directed protection plans has risen sharply as has the number of children in care. While the budgets for care have increased year on year the increases have fallen well behind the expenditure.
The LGA is calling for direct and significant involvement of councils in the review process which would seem very sensible if they are the main providers of care. Clearly there needs to be consideration of the needs of the children first and then a consideration of how local councils can meet those needs and how central government can fund those needs in the long term.
The Children’s Society has commented on the increasing needs of children and the increasing cost of providing the basic needs of providing care for the most vulnerable children in our society.
The Government has committed to a significant one off payment next year with the increased spending also protected but there is no agreement on how to address the long term overspends likely and what services will need to cut back to meet the current needs of children at risk. The pending budget will be an indication of the priorities of the new regime and the spending on social care and children’s care particularly will be watched with interest.
Written by Ciara McReynolds at BLM