Nearly 400,000 children in England were referred and assessed as in need of the support of social services in 2017/18, according to the latest figures.
The figures, published by the Local Government Association (LGA), show children’s services are taking on new cases for 1,047 children every day of the year. Over half of these cases related to abuse or neglect.
The LGA said the figures highlight the ‘huge demand pressures’ children’s services are facing.
‘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,’ said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.
‘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.’
In the Autumn Budget, the chancellor announced £410m for adult and children’s social care in 2019/20, with a further £85m over five years to expand children’s social care programmes in 20 areas.
However, despite this injection of cash, the LGA estimates there will be a £3bn funding gap by 2025 just to keep services running at current levels.
‘While it was good the chancellor announced some new money in the Budget, this will not tackle the immediate and future pressures on services,’ said Cllr Bramble ahead of the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester next week.
‘The Government needs to properly tackle the immediate funding crisis facing children’s services and use next year’s Spending Review to deliver a long-term sustainable funding solution that enables councils to keep some of our most vulnerable children safe from harm and the worst abuses of society.’