‘1,000 new child care cases a day’

The figures also show that the number of children supported through a child protection plan to keep them safe from harm increased by more than 2,700 during the past year – the biggest annual increase in four years.

The LGA said this underlines the huge demand pressures facing children’s services departments and reinforces the desperate need for new long-term funding.

The figures show that 382,180 children in England were referred and assessed as in need of social services support in 2017/18, starting what is known as an ‘episode of need’. This equates to 1,047 new cases every day of the year.

The most common reasons for a child being identified as needing support were abuse or neglect (53.2 per cent), family dysfunction (15.4 per cent), and a child’s disability or illness (8.7 per cent).

Meanwhile, the number of looked after children continues to rise, with latest figures showing there were 75,420 looked after children in England, up four per cent on the year before.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “These figures reinforce the need for new and long-term significant funding for children’s services, which are fast approaching a tipping point and face a funding gap of £3 billion by 2025 just to keep services running at current levels.

“While the additional investment announced in the Budget was a small step in the right direction and helpful, this will do little to alleviate the immediate and future pressures on services for some of the most vulnerable children and families in the vast majority of council areas.

“It is vital that the Government tackles the funding crisis facing children’s services in next year’s Spending Review, and delivers a long-term sustainable funding solution that enables councils to protect children at immediate risk of harm while also supporting early intervention to prevent problems escalating in the first place.”

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