As many as 4.3 million mothers and fathers of babies and children under five in England are struggling to access vital help. The services include diagnosis of autism and other conditions – as well as child mental health aid and education support. They also involve professionals identifying families affected by addiction. Since March 2020, 27 percent of parents – compared with 22 percent pre-Covid – have found services completely unavailable.
More than three quarters of parents unable to get crucial support worry about the impact this will have on their children.
UK charity Action for Children says funding has been cut – and without investment, these early years lifelines will not reopen.
Imran Hussain, its director of policy and campaigns, said: “Some children are being left behind by a lack of access to crucial early years support.
“This report shows vital lifeline services, which were already stretched, may be out of reach for most parents, leaving them to struggle alone. We urge the Chancellor to take urgent action in next month’s Spending Review to ensure councils can deliver a minimum service guarantee for parents and young children.”
Of the 2,003 parents polled by the charity, 79 percent want better access to early years help, and 69 percent believe investment in the services is needed.