Figures highlight worrying volume of child care cases

The Local Government Association has revealed that social workers are starting new cases for more than 1,000 children each day.

Ahead of the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester next week, council leaders have stressed that children’s services will be pushed to a tipping point without further new money as children’s services departments continue to face a barrage of demand pressures.

The data shows that 382,180 children in England were referred and assessed as in need of the support of social services in 2017/18, meaning children’s services taking on new cases for 1,047 children every day of the year.

According to the LGA, the most common reason for a child being identified as needing social care support was abuse or neglect, followed by family dysfunction and a child’s disability or illness.

While councils receive some of the £410 million funding announced by the Chancellor for adult and children’s social care in the recent budget, council leaders claim that this falls short of the amount children’s services need, with an estimated £3 billion funding gap by 2025 just to keep services running at current levels.

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “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. 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.

“While it was good the Chancellor announced some new money in the Budget, this will not tackle the immediate and future pressures on services. 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.”