A hung parliament will hold back children’s services, according to sector experts.
Professionals have said the lack of a clear majority will push issues such as rising care referrals down the government’s list of priorities.
“I don’t imagine children’s services is going to be very high up the agenda for anyone at the moment,” said Paul Fallon, consultant and independent safeguarding board chair.
“Even if the Conservatives had ended up with an overall majority, they wouldn’t have moved forward with children’s services and with things as they are, I don’t think anyone’s going to move towards what needs to be done until we have another general election.”
Enver Solomon, Barnardo’s assistant director of policy and research agreed.
“A hung parliament would mean we are less likely to see immediate radical reform and more likely for there to be continuity than change,” he added.
The Care Leavers Association said whatever happened between the parties to form a government, frontline services should still be protected, according to pre-election promises.
“All party leaders have claimed that they will not make cuts to services for the most vulnerable sections of the population and we would expect them to stick to that commitment,” said Will McMahon, president of the Care Leavers Association.
“Britain is one of the richest countries in the world and we would expect that to be reflected in any government’s spending priorities.”
But Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “All parties have said they are committed to improving services for children in care and the best proposals in the past have often enjoyed cross party support. A hung parliament where political parties have to work together may prove to be good news for children in care.”