Your editorial on children’s care in crisis (19 agosto) states that there has been a huge increase in referrals to social services, and notifications relating to domestic abuse. The article states that there is “no scenario in which increased spending can be avoided” on children’s care.
My fear is that any increase in resources will at best paper over the cracks, and be allocated to the sharp end of child protection out of sheer necessity. But if we truly want to make a difference to our children, then we need much, much more support for early intervention, particularly with regard to those children who have witnessed domestic abuse. NSPCC research reports that one in five children may witness domestic abuse. Any child who sees such abuse is at risk of suffering from poor mental health, not only in their younger years, but well into adulthood too.
But the myriad emotions, all conflicting with each other, can be addressed with early intervention and specialist counselling services, which can radically improve children’s emotional wellbeing.
If the support is not there for children who need it, when they need it, then we are both failing our children and storing up problems for the future.
In stating “above all, poverty must be reduced”, your editorial is setting the public policy bar very low.
What is required is a much wider societal vision – the implementation of progressive income tax, wealth reform, and public policies to combat major inequalities and injustices, including responding to the accumulated evidence of their impact on health, education, wellbeing and local communities, so young people can remain within their families. Vedere, per esempio, Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson’s interview in the Guardian (‘Inequality strikes at our health and happiness’, 18 settembre 2018).
A vision of equality and a commitment to the needs-led funding of public services should be the essential foundation stones for any recommendations arising from the government’s review of children’s social care.
Prof Mike Stein