Children’s services are approaching the point of crisis following a jump in demand, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
Department for Education figures showed the number of children subject to child protection plans increased by more than 2,700 over the past year - the biggest increase in four years.
Some 53,790 children were receiving support via a child protection plan on 31 March – a 5.3% increase on the previous year and the largest rise since 2014.
The numbers represent an 84% increase in the number of children on plans over the past decade.
Chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, said: ‘We are absolutely clear that unless new funding is found in the Autumn Budget then these vital services, which keep children safe from harm and the worst abuses of society, will reach a tipping point.’
Councils believe the large increase has been caused by greater public awareness following high-profile abuse cases, an increase in families struggling to cope without support and a reduction in early intervention services.
Cllr Bramble continued: ‘Councils have done all they can to protect spending on children’s services by cutting services elsewhere and diverting money, but, despite this, they have been forced to reduce or stop the very services that are designed to help children and families before problems begin or escalate to the point where a child might need to come into care.’