New evidence paper published by the National Children’s Bureau: Impact of investing in prevention on demand for statutory children’s social care

The final report of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is expected imminently. To support the launch of the Review, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has worked with their academic partners to showcase the latest research on children’s social care.

The NCB’s new evidence paper (Impact of investing in prevention on demand for statutory children’s social care) demonstrates that investing in prevention, including family support and early help, can reduce demand for more expensive crisis support later, and also leads to better services overall.

The NCB says:

“We have a unique opportunity to strengthen families and invest in early intervention. We must seize this moment to transform children’s lives for the better. Rarely has the case for early investment been so clearly articulated. We have to seize the moment”.

Highlights from the evidence paper:

  • Increased spending on children’s social care preventative services (including family support and early help) has a positive impact on:
    • Ofsted judgements
    • Numbers of Children in Need
    • Rates of 16–17-year-olds starting periods in care.
  • The distribution of local authority spending on prevention has become increasingly less well matched to need.
  • Two recent papers have reinforced the contributory causal relationship between family poverty and levels of child abuse and neglect and the demand for children’s social care services, including rates of entry to care.

The evidence paper concludes with a brief summary of further contextual research on the association between household income and intervention, and on systems-thinking in children’s social care.

You can read more in the NCB’s evidence paper here.

You can join the iHV in raising awareness of the publication of the NCB’s evidence paper and share on social media using the prepared tweet below:

The imminent #CareReview is our chance to secure a future where every child feels safe, secure & supported @NCBtweets’ new evidence paper shows how investment in preventative services can help build that future, saving money in the process.







#BuildBackChildhood #ChildrenAtTheHeart

As part of the Health Policy Influencing Group, the iHV is delighted to support the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) with the vision to #BuildBackChildhood which harnesses the support of over 700 organisations demanding that the Chancellor makes a strategic investment in babies, children, young people and families at the autumn Spending Review.  It is the latest action in the high-profile Children at the Heart movement, coordinated by the National Children’s Bureau, calling for children to be remembered in spending plans.

Babies and children’s health, wellbeing and life chances are strongly shaped by the circumstances of their birth and the environments in which they live. The pandemic has exposed widening health inequalities, with disadvantaged children falling even further behind and vulnerable children bearing the impact of disruption to education and other vital services.

“As we recover, we face a choice: do we create a more level playing field in our society? Or do we simply return to what was there before? It’s this government’s mission to unite and level up across the whole of the UK, to build back better and to build back fairer.” – Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health

The NCB highlights how the Spending Review is a turning point:

“Instead of going back to how things were, this is our chance to look to the future – a future where every child feels safe, secure and supported. This is our chance to Build Back Childhood to ensure that babies, children and young people are not forgotten.

Public services are caught in a cycle of increasing demand and late intervention. We risk every penny of the new NHS and social care levy being swallowed up by increased demand unless this is resolved. The Government must explicitly re-balance spending towards prevention and early intervention in childhood in order to reduce costs and burden on the NHS.

The #BuildBackChildhood campaign includes the following policy recommendations:

  • £500 million ringfenced uplifts in the Public Health Grant over the next three years to train and recruit 3000 new health visitors. This will enable local authorities to create strong and innovative health visiting services.
  • Reverse the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit and increase legacy benefits by £20 a week – reducing child poverty by 350,000.
  • Scrap the benefit cap and two-child limit – this would only cost £1.9 billion and would pull nearly 300,000 children out of poverty.
  • £103 million per year to support 500,000 young people through community mental health hubs.
  • An expansion of the Family Hubs network to provide an access point in local communities to provide help for families who need it.
  • Doubling the Supporting Families Programme to £330 million to provide early help to families facing multiple disadvantages.
  • The rapid expansion of Mental Health Support Teams so that all pupils are schools are covered by 2023.
  • Local areas to tackle the backlog of assessments and address the impact of missed therapies.
  • The launch of an independent review into childcare and early education funding and affordability, including whether current spending is sufficient to deliver the free entitlements.

“We are delighted to support this growing groundswell of organisations coming together with a united voice calling on the Government to #BuildBackChildhood . The evidence is clear, if we are serious about wanting to ‘level-up’ society and support public services which are flooded with increasing need, it is essential that we start in the earliest years of life and invest in our children, who are our future – there is no smarter investment” – Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV

NCB #BuildBackChildhood campaign supporters

iHV very much welcomes the NCB’s clear analysis and recommendations published in its report “Whatever it takes”: Government spending on children and young people – the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 Spending Review.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, commented:

“This NCB Report is a superb and clear analysis of the crises for children at the moment and, amongst other recommendations, it recommends investing in the early years and health visiting.”

“We hope that many interested parliamentarians and others will take the opportunity to attend the APPG for Children taking place this afternoon to discuss its contents.”

Parliamentarians will be debating the implications of this analysis at 4:30-6pm on Monday 14 December at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children. Children, young people and parents who participated in the #GiveUsAChancellor campaign will also be presenting on the areas where they want to see future government spending.


We are delighted to share the National Children’s Bureau’s Manifesto for a Better Childhood .

It’s a very comprehensive document making a call to the next government in all the necessary areas for children – including a call to: Invest in a world-class health visiting service for new parents, so all families can build a trusting relationship with their health visitor.


A survey of local councillors responsible for children’s services confirms an increasing crisis in children’s social care, with the overwhelming majority (87%) saying that demand for local authority support for children and families has risen over the past two years. The findings suggest many councils are struggling to provide this help.

The new report, published by the National Children’s Bureau, found that two-thirds of councillors have warned their council doesn’t have enough funding to provide universal services for children and families.

It also found 41% of councillors said a lack of funding was preventing them from meeting their statutory duties to children, with 36% saying there was insufficient funding to help children in care.

The report – Off the Radar – calls for increased funding for children’s social care, better data collection and sharing, and a cross-Government strategy for improving children’s lives.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director iHV, said:

“Health visitors, now commissioned by the local authorities, provide the universal preventative service for children and families. It’s alarming to see the effects of decommissioning on both children’s public health and social care services.”

Do you work with children in care in England?

If so, would you be interested in taking part in the National Children’s Bureau’s (NCB) research looking at measures of wellbeing for children in care?

The NCB is currently undertaking research on what measures, tools or indicators are used to assess the wellbeing of children in care in England. They’re really interested in finding out more about how such information is collected and used by those working with children in care, which might include foster carers, counsellors or residential home managers.

You can tell them your thoughts and experiences of measuring the wellbeing of children in care by taking part in their ten minute survey:

They are also interested in speaking to managers and practitioners in more detail by telephone. If you would like to volunteer for a short telephone interview, then please contact Rebekah Ryder, Senior Researcher at NCB on [email protected], 020 7833 6811 or submit your details using this form:

This research is funded by John Paul Getty Junior Charitable Trust.