Ministers urged to give assurances on level of social care for children
A Tory former children's minister has demanded assurances from the Government that children's social care is being treated with the same level of importance as the care of adults.
Tim Loughton cited rising numbers of children in care and higher thresholds for intervention as causes for his concern.
Councils have warned that funding cuts had pushed children's social services to "breaking point", with action only being taken to protect youngsters once they are at imminent risk of harm and ongoing funding pressures leading to gaps in services.
Mr Loughton said: "I appreciate the importance the Government has attached to adult social care.
"But the title of this statement is social care, and as the minister knows I have a strong interest in children's social care.
"So at a time when the number of children coming into care continues to rise, when thresholds for intervention are rising, and when preventative work, I fear, is going south, and the number of adoptions has also been diminishing, can she and the Government give me assurances that they attach the same level of importance to dealing with the challenges being faced by children's social care up and down the country at the current time?"
Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: "I can absolutely give him that assurance, but if I may I will suggest that my honourable friends in the Department for Education respond to him on exactly those points."