Welsh children’s services reaching ‘crisis point’

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has warned that children's services in Wales are nearly ‘at crisis point’ having seen a 149 per cent increase in the number of court applications to remove children into care over the last nine years.

Already facing restricted budgets and squeezed services, he WLGA says that councils are doing their best to manage the increased caseload, but that the situation was not sustainable.

Figures from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service reveal that the annual number of section 31 applications, which is made by a council if they want to take children into care, rose from 422 in 2008/09 to 1,050 in 2017/18.

The same data shows that there were around 5,955 children in care in Wales in March 2017 compared with 4,695 in March 2009 - representing a rise of 27 per cent.

Geraint Hopkins, deputy spokesperson for children at the WLGA, said: “The system is very near at crisis point. Unless we significantly look at the resources available to children's services in Wales and the important early intervention methods that we take to try and prevent children coming into care then we're going to be in serious trouble.

"It's been a difficult period over these last 10 years, austerity has hit many local authorities and whilst we have continued to meet the rising costs of looked after children, it's getting to the point now where we're really at crisis level."

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