Yesterday in Parliament, Telford’s MP Lucy Allan held a debate in Westminster Hall to discuss the record number of children currently being looked after by the state.
The focus of the debate was to evaluate and assess the findings of the Care Crisis Review.
The seven month sector-led Review was set up by the Family Rights Group in response to record levels of applications for care proceedings in England and Wales. According to Government statistics, as of 31 March 2017 there were 72,670 children in care, the highest level since 1985.
The Review set out 20 options for change including the need for ring fenced funding for local authorities to use for early support for struggling families.
During the debate, Lucy Allan asked the Children’s Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP to take action in response to the Review and urged him to commit to direct ring-fenced funding towards early intervention and preventive measures.
Ms Allan also asked the Minister to adopt a longer term strategy to provide help and support at the early stages. She highlighted that local authorities have a legal duty to spend their budgets on statutory crisis intervention measures, leaving them with little or nothing for preventive measures that would reduce in the long term the need to spend on crisis funding.
Responding to the debate, the Children’s Minister said:
“The review is an important contribution to the work being done across the family justice system to address the pressures caused by rising public law volumes for local authorities and the family courts.
“On funding for preventive support services, it is for local authorities to determine how to spend their non-ring-fenced income on the services they provide, including services for preventive support measures.”
Lucy Allan said:
“It is important for the Minister to understand that because of current legislation, local authorities have to spend their budgets on crisis funding such as statutory interventions.
“That is why we need to think and act for the long term and give local authorities better resources such as ring-fenced funding for preventative measures which will reduce the number of children from entering the care system.”
You can read the full debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-09-05/debates/BE7507A2-AD2A-…