Early intervention services are suffering as charities prioritise families in crisis
Flagship early intervention services are being undermined because children’s charities are having to increasingly deal with families in crisis, according to a new report.
A report fromBarnardo’s Scotland and NSPCC Scotland discovered schemes designed to prevent issues such as relationship breakdown, substance misuse and help with mental health problems, were being put on the back burner by the sheer number of families falling into poverty and needing support.
Even without sanctions, benefits are not keeping pace with rising costs such as food and fuel
As such Barnardo’s said its resources were being diverted to these families to the detriment of early intervention schemes.
The NSPCC and Barnardo's Scotland jointly researched how austerity measures were affecting 14 family support services run across Scotland.
Many charities running schemes to help children are finding they need to step in to provide basic needs such as food, clothing or help to find stable housing before they can begin to work intensively to support families.
One service reported a 53% increase in families recorded as facing three or more issues such as homelessness, poverty, debt, domestic violence and alcohol or drug misuse.
The increase in DWP sanctions is having a major impact, the charities also warned.
The cumulative effect was becoming unbearable, the report warns.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo's Scotland, said: "It often appears as if those putting in place welfare reforms have no concept of how poor people are to start with. Even without sanctions, benefits are not keeping pace with rising costs such as food and fuel.
“Even if people are getting what they are entitled to, it is not enough."
It was not uncommon for children to lack basics such as a toothbrush, pyjamas or sheets on their bed", added Susan Galloway, senior policy researcher for NSPCC Scotland.
Both Barnardo’s and NSPCC Scotland are calling for a new approach saying that while the Christie Commission on public services called for more early intervention, the policy is failing.