Tim Elwell-Sutton, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Investment in early years services that support children's health and wellbeing is critical if we want to have a society that flourishes both socially and economically.
‘There have been sustained cuts to local government budgets over recent years and funding for the services that keep children well, such as children's centres, has been particularly hard hit. England now spends half of its entire children’s services budget on 73,000 children in care, leaving the other half for 11.7 million children.
‘Health Foundation analysis shows there has been a £700m real terms annual reduction in funding to local authorities for public health initiatives between 2014/15 and 2019/20. This includes cuts for preventative health services for children that play a key role in maintaining wellbeing such as reductions in the numbers of health visitors and school nurses.’
Spending on Sure Start children's centres and early years services, fell by 44% since 2010-11, while spending on the acute needs of the relatively small number of children in the statutory social care system (children in need and looked after children) increased by 10% over the same period. As a result of the drift in funding away from preventative services in this field, the Children’s Commissioner report shows that England now spends half of its entire children’s services budget on 73,000 children in care, leaving the other half for 11.7 million children.
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