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Children: Social Services

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL9563, tabled on 16 July 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they plan to put in place to prevent vulnerable children being taken into local authority care for their own safety due to underfunded local safeguarding services.

Answered on

25 July 2018

The government wants every child to be in the stable, loving home that is right for them. One of the key principles of the legislation which underpins England’s child protection system is that children are best looked after within their families. However, as a last resort, local authorities may apply to the independent courts for a decision about removing a child from his or her family – for the child’s safety. In making these decisions, the courts must be satisfied that the threshold for significant harm has been met and that taking the child from his or her family’s care will be in the child’s best interests.

The government set out its vision for delivering excellent children’s social care in ‘Putting Children First’. This outlines our reform programme which seeks to: improve the quality of social work practice; create systems and environments where great social work can flourish; promote learning and multi-agency working where all involved in supporting children and families can work together; and support children who both enter and leave the care system.

The 2015 Spending Review made available more than £200 billion until 2020 for councils to deliver the local services their communities want to see, including children’s services. In February, Parliament confirmed the 2018-19 settlement for local government, which has provided a £1.3 billion increase in resources to local government over the next two years, from £44.3 billion in 2017-18 to £45.6 billion in 2019-20. In addition, the current business rates retention scheme is yielding strong results. Local authorities estimate that in 2018-19 they will keep around £2.4 billion in business rates growth. This is on top of the core settlement funding. Funding for children’s services is an un-ring fenced part of the wider local government finance settlement. Local authorities have used this flexibility to increase spending on the most vulnerable children by around a £1 billion since 2010.