Council makes plea to Government to reverse “historic underfunding” of children’s social care
PUBLISHED: 12:01 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:01 29 September 2017
The county council has produced a summary of the work they do with young people and social care to argue for increased Government support.
The council says that Cambridgeshire services has come under substantial pressure in with nearly a 50 per cent increase in the number of looked after children and a 100 per cent increase in the number of children subject to a child protection plan in the past four years.
“We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children years – rising from five in 2015 to 67 now,” said a council spokesman.
“Those children who need care have increasingly complex needs which put pressure on foster care placements and increase the cost of care.”
The council said that among other things they:
•Works with more than 250 schools to ensure over 80,000 children get the high quality education they deserve
•Look after about 680 children and find permanent placements for many of them
•Have dealt with 67 unaccompanied asylum seeking children – this is above the Government quota of 0.07% of the child population of the county
•Supports those who have special educational needs, including around 3,000 children with statements or education health and care plans
•Provides more than 1,000 disabled children and young people with short respite breaks - 50,000 hours of individual support and 4,600 overnight stays
The council says that across the country referrals to children’s social care have risen most dramatically in rural councils whilst they receive half the money urban councils get to deliver these services.
Simon Bywater, chairman of the children and young people committee, said: “We are transforming the ways that we work to tackle the increasing demand but we also want to send a clear message to Government to reverse the historical underfunding of rural counties.
He said that county councils were the lowest funded of the upper tier councils receiving an average of £292 per resident less than councils in London and £166 less per head than metropolitan boroughs.
“We are joining with other county councils to call for a fairer deal for counties,” said Cllr Bywater.
“We also want the Government to take into account the additional costs and challenges of providing services in rural areas.”