Children are suffering because of increasingly high thresholds in children’s social care, a leading professor of social work has claimed.
While reviewing the effectiveness of section 17 provisions for children-in-need of the 1989 Children Act, Professor Jane Tunstill, at Kings College London, said there was an increasing gap between children given support under the common assessment framework and those who were eligible for help from social workers.
She said policy makers and councils needed to recognise the extra harm children were suffering as a result.
“Essential to any major improvement is recognition that the increasingly high thresholds…result in greater harm to increasing numbers of children. Many of the most vulnerable children and families seeking help fall into a gap between early prevention and high thresholds for formal intervention.”
She said politicians had contributed to this by failing to provide extra money for early intervention and prevention services.
Instead they kept trying to “rob Peter to pay Paul” – counting on falling numbers of children-in-care to release funds that could pay for prevention services.
This policy had in fact meant councils were now grappling with huge numbers of children entering the care system and were raising their thresholds to try and cope.
“Much of the failure of preventative services has to do with the failure to accept the need for dual funding. This would have encouraged the growth of family support services without waiting for funds to be released,” Tunstill wrote.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails