In 2016, Action for Children, The Children’s Society and the National Children’s Bureau highlighted the worrying fall in funding for local services such as children’s centres and youth services, which are focused on prevention and early intervention. Our report Losing in the long run shone a light on the difficult decisions councils are making to reduce spending on universal services and targeted early intervention as they deal with reduced budgets.
Early intervention has long been valued by councils as a means to help prevent problems escalating to a point where children and young people require more costly interventions, such as being taken into care. From parenting classes to substance misuse prevention, programmes and the local services which deliver them form a key part of councils support for local communities.
However, prevention and early intervention is only one part of local government spending on children and young people’s services. A much larger amount is spent each year on services that support those with more complex problems.
These services often act as ‘late’ or ‘crisis’ intervention. They cover local councils spending on safeguarding and support provided to children in care, and for those with complex needs who remain in the family home.
Since 2010 the demand for these ‘late’ intervention services has increased significantly. 1 This has taken place against a backdrop of reduced funding for all parts of children and young people's services from central government. This means that local authorities have been forced to make significant cuts to preventative and early intervention services.
In this new report we look at current funding and spend right across children and young people's services. We provide an estimate of how much councils are receiving for children and young people's services and where this is being allocated.