Social workers drew up 29 more child protection plans every day last year than they did five years ago, figures reveal, as council leaders warned stretched children’s services are facing a £3bn funding black hole.
Some 10,000 more children were subject to protection plans – arrangements drawn up by local authorities setting out how keep vulnerable minors safe and assist their families – by the end of 2017-18 as compared to five years prior.
Government figures showed that, overall, 404,710 children referred to authorities across England were deemed to require the support of social services at the end of March this year.
A total of 53,790 children were on protection plans in the year ending March 2018, 10,600 more than the 43,190 being monitored at the same point five years ago.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an additional £410m would be awarded in next year’s Budget to help fund child and adult services, but the Local Government Association(LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, said the figure “falls well short” of the level needed to keep services running effectively.
The LGA estimated councils will face a collective £3bn shortfall in their child services budgets by 2025 unless extra cash is made available.
Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, called on the government provide a long-term solution to what she described as a “funding crisis” in children’s services.
“These figures highlight the sheer volume of cases that are being started by social workers on a daily basis, and illustrate the scale of demand for help from children and their families,” she said.
“But a lack of long-term funding is pushing children’s services to a tipping point, and threatens to undermine the vital support councils provide in protecting children and keeping them safe from harm.
“While it was good the chancellor announced some new money in the Budget, this will not tackle the immediate and future pressures on services.” Read more
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