Cruel welfare: the Government’s attack on working class families
Jolyon Jones: an activist from West Midlands Social Work Action Network
‘After almost a decade of increased funding and more integrated development of children’s services, the recession has brought widespread cuts, alongside increasing poverty and family stress… in general young children and their families will have more challenges to their emotional wellbeing and less support available than in recent years.’
(Growing up in the UK – Ensuring a healthy future for our children. BMA Board of Science (2013))
Wednesday 19th June
Methodist Church, Station Road, Erdington
(The entrance of the Church is at the back next to the car park. Any problems ring 0777 156 7496)
Over £20m was cut from Birmingham Council’s budget for Children’s services nearly 20% of the total budget cut for 2013-14. To make these on going cuts the Council is making significant changes to the way in which children and families are able to receive services, including:
A move away from providing universal and integrated services open to all, to targeted services for identified families.
Early intervention is replacing the more open idea of family support as the basis for providing services
By changing and tightening definitions of need and the eligibility criteria which are used to assess children.
Move to greater commissioning of services and away from direct provision, together with greater use of individual budgets.
In Birmingham the Think family initiative has received new investment as part of the Governments ‘Troubled Families’ programme which offers support to families on the basis that they are considered a cost to the public purse. This programme pathologises families as the basis on which they can receive support.
But there is a bigger picture. Currently progressing through Parliament is the Children and Families Bill, which will prioritise placing children for adoption when they have been removed from their families. It will introduce tight timescales and reduce the amount of time social workers can work with families to bring about change or find alternative family carers. The Family Rights Group reminds us that when adoption is ‘enforced against the parents’ will, it is one of the most severe acts that the state can take.’
The Governments welfare reforms will see a dramatic increase the number of children living in poverty. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies child poverty is projected to rise from 2012/13 with an expected 300,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16. This upward trend is expected to continue with 4.2 million children projected to be living in poverty by 2020.’ Poverty increases the stress on families and likelihood of family breakdown and of coming into contact with Children’s social care.
Full Meeting Agenda
1. Birmingham Labour Council’s cuts in Children and Community services – Speaker Jolyon Jones East Birmingham Against the Cuts
2. Report on the Bedroom Tax campaign Birmingham demo 15th June
3. Report on the Birmingham Against the Cuts 10th June
4. Peoples Assembly against the Austerity 22nd June
5. Report on the Federation against the Cuts meeting 16th June
For more information on Erdington Residents Against the Cuts contact
Stuart Richardson 0777 156 7496