Almost half (48%) of all Action for Children services have reported rises in the number of children and families needing support over the past three months, according to the charity’s latest report.
Action for Children’s annual “red book” analysis, which analysed the impact of policy on the charity’s services, has found that over two thirds (68%) of its managers have suffered cuts to their budgets for frontline services. Of these, 37% reported cuts of between 11% and 30%.
However, over half (51%) of its services reported that, compared to six months ago, they are supporting children and families facing more severe problems.
The figures add to the growing “storm” that cuts to services and welfare are increasing need among the UK’s most vulnerable families.
In 41% of cases service managers said they believed demand for services had risen because of an increase in family breakdown. In 39% of cases the demand was believed to be due to parental mental or physical health.
“Our findings show that while there are more children in need, cuts to the budgets of vital services mean that increasingly this need cannot be met,” the charity stated.
The analysis also revealed that the charity is struggling to provide support to children and families in need, with over one-fifth (22%) of its services reporting a decrease in face-to-face contact with children and families.
It identified 5,000 children, young people and families who need support but are not currently receiving a service because of budget pressures.
“We would like to have the capacity in our services to respond to the higher levels of need but we are unable to do so as our services are being cut,” the report stated.
Dame Clare Tickell, writing in the report, said she was concerned at the “scale of change and cutbacks” which will have “serious and long lasting” consequences and urged decision-makers to take action.
“It is still early on in the life of this parliament, however. Many decisions and choices are not yet finally made so there is time to reconsider in light of the emerging evidence,” she said.
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