Budget 2015: The good and the bad Government announces 2015 budget

Lots of announcements from the Chancellor today, many relevant to charities and some affecting vulnerable children. 

Extra funding to find adoptive parents for children in care is welcome news. But gaps in services and the need for earlier support for some of society’s most vulnerable children remain areas that have yet to be addressed.

Among the announcements from the Chancellor were:

  • £30m for local authorities to speed up the adoption process
  • A £3m fund for women’s refuges

For some children, being taken into care is the only way to secure their safety. And whilst we welcome the announcement on adoption  funding, we urge the Government to continue to apply the same commitment towards increasing adoption figures to ensure children entering the care system quickly get the specialist help they desperately  need.

What's missing from the 2015 budget

Despite growing awareness of child abuse and its devastating consequences, there was nothing in the budget for those affected. 

Tens of thousands of children who have suffered sexual abuse currently don’t get the specialist help they need. Many will suffer long-term problems and development issues without it. We estimate that the overall cost to society of child sexual abuse is around £3.2 billion a year.

That's why we're running services like Letting the Future InProtect and Respect and Women as Protectors to support victims of abuse across the UK and channel islands.

A growing mountain of evidence suggests that early intervention and timely support is fundamental  to supporting vulnerable children in care. 

Our own research, published this week, shows that children in care are 4 times more likely than their peers to have a mental health difficulty.

These mental health needs, often caused as a result of their trauma, are often unmet. This increases children’s risk of a variety of poor outcomes including placement instability and poor educational attainment.

Find out more about the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children in care.

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Children in care are 4 times more likely than their peers to have a mental health difficulty

Explanation: The Office of National Statistics conducted research on the mental health of young people, aged 5-17, looked after by local authorities (Meltzer, H. et al, 2003Meltzer, H et al, 2004a and Meltzer et al, 2004b).

The research found that 45% of looked after children in England, 45% of looked after children in Scotland and 49% of looked after children in Wales had a mental disorder. This included: clinically significant conduct disorders; emotional disorders (anxiety and depression); hyperactivity and less common disorders (pervasive developmental disorders, tics and eating disorders).

This compares to a rate of 10% for children aged 5-16 living in private households in Great Britain. This figure is from research conducted by the Office of National Statistics (Green, H. et al, 2005). Children living in foster care were excluded from this survey.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said:
"The Government has recognised child protection and mental health as priorities but gaps in services are continuing to fail countless numbers of children.

"Every child who has been abused needs help and support at the right time, so they can start the journey of recovery. There needs to be a comprehensive strategy that places the right focus on early intervention and helps break the cycle of misery."

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  1. Green, H. et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004 (PDF). [London]: Office for National Statistics (ONS).

  2. Meltzer, H. et al (2004a) The mental health of young people looked after by local authorities in Wales (PDF). London: The Stationery Office (TSO).

  3. Meltzer, H. et al (2004b) The mental health of young people looked after by local authorities in Scotland (PDF). London: The Stationery Office (TSO).

  4. Meltzer, H. et al. (2003) The mental health of young people looked after by local authorities in England (PDF). London: The Stationery Office (TSO).