Sure Start cuts leave vulnerable children at risk of abuse and neglect

From Welfare Weekly: Years of funding cuts to children’s centres mean some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in Britain have nowhere to turn for help and support, a leading charity has warned.

A damning new report by UK charity Action for Children reveals that between 2014/15 and 2017/18 average spending by councils on children’s centres, including ‘Sure Start Centres, fell from £532 to just £412 per child.

As council funding was reduced the number of children and families supported by children’s centre’s plummeted by almost a fifth (18%). Worryingly, the number of children from the most deprived areas of the country using children’s centre’s has fallen by a shocking 22%.

Action for Children says the latest analysis suggests a direct correlation of the average developmental gap shrinking in areas where children’s centre use has increased, and a widening of the gap in areas where numbers have declined.

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly…]

Cash crisis forces children’s hospices in England to limit respite care

From The Guardian: Children’s hospices in England are in crisis and have started turning away families because of a lack of government funding and falls in corporate donations, charities have warned.

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, which runs two children’s hospices in the south-east, will stop offering respite care from November to half the 500 local families who need it… The charity has had a 25% real-terms cut in its government funding since 2008, he said, and has been eating into its reserves since 2012. “Having to not offer services that we know are vital to really vulnerable families is very difficult for me and my staff. Respite care is a lifeline for these families. It gives parents a break. There is a chance that, without it, families will be torn apart.”

The campaigning charity Together for Short Lives will publish a report this week criticising the government for quietly reneging on its promise last December to increase its annual grant to children’s hospices to £25m. Children’s hospices in England, the report will say, now face a £13m funding gap because the government has repeatedly failed to increase funding when medical treatments advance.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Teachers witnessing ‘dickensian’ levels of child poverty

From Welfare Weekly: Teachers have painted a stark picture on the growing levels of child poverty, with many forced to step in to assist struggling parents in the wake of endless austerity measures.

A National Education Union poll of 1,026 teachers in England has exposed the day to day struggles of low-income families, as an estimated 4.5 million school age children are said to be trapped below the poverty line.

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly…]

What are the effects of child poverty?

From The Children’s Society: We know that poverty has a devastating impact on children’s lives.

It can lead to children missing out on decent meals, sleeping in cold bedrooms and being bullied at school, as well as drastically reducing their future life chances.

Children living in poverty are more likely to:
– Have poor physical health
– Experience mental health problems
– Have a low sense of well-being
– Underachieve at school
– Have employment difficulties in adult life
– Experience social deprivation
– Feel unsafe
– Experience stigma and bullying at school.

Children living in poverty are more likely to feel like a failure, and have a sense of hopeless about their future than their more affluent peers. And they have a more significant risk of developing mental health problems.

Cash-strapped Bournemouth school scraps hot meals

From BBC News: A head teacher has told parents her school can no longer afford to provide a hot school meals service because of budgetary pressures.

Emma Rawson, headteacher at Stourfield Junior School in Southbourne, said funding pressures meant the school could no longer afford the staffing costs of more than £20,000 per year.

She said she was “frustrated” because some pupils relied on those hot meals.

The Department for Education requires all schools to serve hot or cold meals.

The school said it would provide cold packed lunches for those children eligible for free school meals. All other pupils would be required to bring their own food to school.

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Spending on children and young people’s services cut by nearly £1bn in six years, figures reveal

From The Independent: Spending on children and young people’s services has been axed by nearly £1bn in real terms over the past six years, new analysis shows, prompting concerns that thousands of families are missing out on “lifeline” support.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Video: Schools washing uniforms, charging phones for families with no electricity at home

This devastating 95-second video shot by ITV News in Morecambe shows primary schools giving out shoes and coats and using washing machines to wash children’s uniforms, teachers charging parents’ phones because they have no electricity at home, GPs treating kids for rickets, and parents passing out in the school hall because they’ve done without meals.

The reality of child poverty

Primary schools using washing machines to wash children's uniforms, teachers charging parents' phones because they have no electricity at home, and GPs treating kids for rickets. This is the poverty we have found in the UK in 2017.Watch more: (via Granada Reports)

Posted by ITV News on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Over 100,000 children rejected for mental health treatment

From NSPCC: More than 100,000 children referred to local specialist NHS mental health services have been rejected for treatment in the last 2 years.

New figures obtained from NHS Trusts in England confirm that from a total of 652,023 cases referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), 109,613 children were turned away – equivalent to an average of 150 a day.

Record numbers of children contacted Childline about suicidal feelings in 2016/17, it was revealed by Childline’s Not Alone Anymore annual review. Mental and emotional health is now the most common reason for a child to contact Childline.

[Read full article on NSPCC website…]

Impact of austerity leaves schoolchildren at risk of missing out on music

From SWLondoner: Following the austerity measures implemented by the coalition government, funding for the arts was curtailed, and access to music education has become increasingly difficult.

The 2010 comprehensive spending review announced a 30% cut the Arts Council England budget. These cuts placed significant strain on our cultural organisations, including theatres, orchestras, music venues and art galleries.

Our most prestigious institutions, including the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, are set to lose £2.5million of Arts Council funding per year between them.

Yet the impacts are more widespread; with cuts to local council budgets, less money is being spent on grassroots music education.

While 85% of parents state that music education is beneficial for their children, 70% say that the cost is prohibitive.

The National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain stated that 70% of its members were privately educated, which underlines that access remains an ongoing challenge.

[Read full article on SWLondoner…]

Children waiting up to 18 months for mental health treatment

From The Guardian: Children with mental health problems are waiting up to 18 months to be treated, according to a government-ordered report, in an indictment of the poor care many receive.

A Care Quality Commission report into child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) will warn that long delays for treatment are damaging the health of young people with anxiety, depression and other conditions.

Long delays are leading to some children starting to self-harm or fall out of education, couples breaking up and parents having to stop working so they can look after their child, the charity Young Minds said. Statistics show that one in five children referred for treatment in England cannot be seen by overstretched child and adolescent mental health services, and some families end up seeking private care.

“We regularly hear from parents who can’t get a referral, with their GP telling them to seek a referral via their school and vice versa. We also hear from parents who have been waiting for months for an initial assessment, and whose children’s conditions have got worse during that time,” said Jo Hardy, the head of parent services at Young Minds.

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