Almost 100,000 children will enter care in the next three years if the Government fails to deliver social care reforms, council leaders have warned today.
The County Councils Network (CCN) is calling on the Government to urgently deliver the key recommendations of an independent review into children’s social care, which concluded five months ago.
Without reform, the number of children being placed in council care could reach almost 100,000 by 2025 at a cost of £3.6bn a year, the CCN has said. It added this would consume 60% of an average local authority’s budget by the middle of the decade.
Cllr Keith Glazier, children’s services spokesperson for the CCN, said: 'The independent review was a landmark report that clearly articulated the need to invest in the system and allow local authorities to take the lead in developing a reformed system which works better for young people and protects them from serious harm.
'With many councils overspending on budgets due to the expensive nature of children in care, we need to break the cycle and reform is long overdue. Whilst we appreciate there is a commitment to set out a plan by the end of the year, both councils and young people cannot afford to keep waiting.'
Council leaders are calling on the Government to invest £2.6bn into children’s services between 2023 and 2027 – as recommended by the review.
This would allow local authorities to implement a new ‘optimised model’ of delivering children’s services, invest in early help services and recruit more foster carers, said the CCN.