Can children’s services keep up with demand?

adoption

New figures have revealed a “staggering scale of pressures” on children’s services, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA, which represents around 370 councils across England and Wales, said a child was referred to local authority children’s services every 49 seconds last year.

In total, there were 646,120 referrals to children’s services during 2016/17, with more than 500 children protection investigations launched each day.

This is compared to just 200 a decade ago.

The LGA said such services are “struggling to cope” with rising demand and face a £2 billion funding gap by 2020.

Councillor Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “We will always encourage people to refer any concerns about children to their local authority as soon as possible, so that the situation can be investigated and support or immediate protection put in place where necessary.

“But while these figures are encouraging as a reflection of heightened awareness and identification of child abuse, they also highlight the staggering scale of the pressures that have now been building on children’s services for a number of years.

“Unless there is an injection of funding to support crucial early intervention, many more vulnerable children remain at risk.”

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