The number referrals to children’s social care has soared by almost 20% since 2008, according to new figures.
The figures released by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) show there were 642,980 referrals to children’s social care in 2019/20, an increase of 19% since 2008.
The statistics are part of the latest iteration of ADCS’s Safeguarding Pressures report.
It also shows the number of children subjects of child protection plans has increased by 76% since 2008
And adults experiencing domestic abuse, mental health difficulties or substance misuse, are the most common reasons why children come to the attention of early help and/or children’s social care services
The report estimates that £824m is required just for children’s services to ‘stay still’ and that funding for the Troubled Families Programme continues to prop up the delivery of early help services in children’s services.
The report also captured some of the impact of the pandemic on children’s services.
In the six months up to 30 September last year, it was estimated that 81,900 children were in care, an increase of 34% in 12 years and up 6% since 2018/19.
The report also found there was a 4% increase in children who were subjects of child protection plans at 30 September 2020 compared to the same period last year.
‘A year of disruption is impacting on children’s physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing as well as their education,’ said ADCS president, Jenny Coles.
‘Some children and young people will have found the last few months traumatic, stressful or even scary and we are already starting to see a new cohort of families in distress that we have not worked with before requiring our help and support.
‘However, the true effect of the pandemic on children, families and children’s services is not yet known and will be felt for many years to come. For many, this will have exacerbated pre-existing challenges such as poverty, hunger, parental ill health and domestic abuse. National recovery plans must extend beyond mitigating lost learning. There can be no delay in levelling up the social, health, education and geographical inequalities made more visible by the pandemic. Children’s life chances and all of our futures depend on it,’ she added.
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