As English councils warn that social care services for vulnerable children are approaching breaking point in the face of funding shortfalls, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘For some years now we have been highlighting the impact of austerity on foster care and other services for children in care or on the edge of care. This report from the Local Government Association reiterates that warning in the strongest possible terms and we are extremely concerned.
‘Investment in early intervention services is of vital importance to help families stay together and thrive wherever possible, yet we are hearing time and again of such services being cut back to the bare minimum or scrapped completely. On top of this, when children cannot stay at home they need the best possible care, and yet it appears that progress made in the financial support for foster carers over the last twenty years is being slowly unravelled – and this at a time when more foster carers are needed and an increasing amount is being asked of existing foster carers.
‘The Westminster Government must ensure that local governments are sufficiently funded – not just to meet the minimum legal requirements, but to allow this country’s most vulnerable children every opportunity to flourish. This is sound economic practice as we spend now to prevent greater expenditure in the future; but much more importantly we cannot allow this generation of children to be unfairly impacted by cuts.’