Care figures hit 10-year high

The number of children in care has reached a 10-year high with the system reaching breaking point, according to the LGA.

New figures show that the number has risen by 28 per cent in the past decade, with 78,150 children now in care, up from 75,370 in 2018.

The LGA is warning that this huge increase in demand is combining with funding shortages to put immense pressure on the ability of councils to support vulnerable children and young people, and provide the early help that can stop children and families reaching crisis point in the first place.

The Government’s election manifesto promised a review of the children’s social care system, and central to it must be securing the financial sustainability of children’s social care services, the LGA said.

This is the only way councils can deliver their legal duties, protect the preventative services that support families before they reach crisis point and improve the lives of children and families.

Councils were forced to overspend on their children’s social care budgets by almost £800 million last year to try to keep children safe, despite allocating more money than the previous year to try to keep up with demand.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This is unsustainable.

“Councils need to be given a seat at the table for the care system review, alongside children, families and partners, to make sure this looks at what really matters and what can really make a difference.

“It needs to ensure that children’s services are fully funded and councils can not only support those children who are in care, but provide the early intervention and prevention support that can stop children and families reaching crisis point in the first place.”

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