The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has urgently called on any incoming government to address mounting pressures in children’s social care and SEND services, following the release of manifestos from major political parties this week.

ADCS welcomed the focus on tackling childhood disadvantage in some pledges, but stressed the pressing need to alleviate increasing strains in these vital services. They emphasised the importance of supporting children’s health and wellbeing, particularly their mental health, alongside a call for a comprehensive long-term plan to secure children’s futures and bridge funding shortfalls in children’s services. They noted that children have been overlooked politically for too long.

Rachael Wardell, ADCS Vice President, remarked on the emergence of common themes across manifestos, such as plans to recruit more teachers and expand childcare provision. She expressed ADCS’s readiness to collaborate with the new government to ensure these promises are fulfilled. However, she underscored the immediate need for a robust childhood plan and increased funding to meet the needs of children and families.

Wardell highlighted critical areas needing immediate attention, including pressures in children’s social care and SEND services, as well as the imperative to bolster children’s mental health support. She urged all government departments to unite efforts towards prioritising children and families in policy decisions to enhance their wellbeing.

Labour pledged to embed specialist mental health professionals in every school to provide early intervention for issues. The Liberal Democrats committed to addressing the SEND provision crisis by boosting local authority funding and establishing a new National Body for SEND.

In summary, ADCS’s message is clear: urgent action is needed to address current challenges and to secure a brighter future for children across the UK.

19th June 2024

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