Children’s services chief warns of ‘huge spikes in demand’

The new president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has warned there could be ‘huge spikes in demand’ as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In her inaugural address as president for 2020/21, Jenny Coles, Director of Children’s Services, Hertfordshire County Council, said there could be “even greater burdens on child and adolescent mental health services” which were “almost at breaking point” before the outbreak of Covid-19.

Ms Coles said these could include more children needing to come into care as well as increased incidences of children living with one or more of the ‘trigger trio’ – parental substance misuse, domestic abuse and parental mental ill-health.

‘The announcement of extra funding for children (and adult) social care is welcome,’ added Ms Coles.

“But I just want to say loud and clear, this is not yet job done for children’s services,’ said the new ADCS president.

‘We must work towards a sustainable long-term funding settlement for children’s services. Before the pandemic, children’s services were woefully under-funded and stretched to the limit. The current crisis is significantly exacerbating that inadequate baseline of funding.

‘The resources needed during the nation’s recovery from the pandemic will be eye-wateringly large. I’m sure that the government will invest in its citizens’ futures. I want to see unprecedented levels of investment in our children’s futures, please.’

‘We have a government with a large mandate,’ added Ms Coles.

‘This gives the government the opportunity to change its approach – to stop chasing the next shiny new thing and instead invest in children’s services in a way that generates improved outcomes for children and families over a longer timeframe.

‘Short term, single issue funding pots waste precious time in endless bidding rounds for small amounts of money when our core services for children and families are under-funded. I hope that the government will see that it cannot again allow public services to be denuded in the way they have been over the last decade,’ she said.

Photo Credit – ADCS



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