A record number of children are at risk of abuse or neglect in England, according to a Sky News study of new Government data.
We have found that serious child protection cases known as “Section 47s” have doubled in the last seven years to record highs. On average there are now 500 new cases launched in England every single day.
The Department for Education figures also show the number of children supported through child protection plans has almost doubled over the past 10 years, and this year saw the biggest annual increase in children in care since 2010.
Sean Rafferty, who works in children’s services, added: “People say we need better communication and we have, but we’ve also got a smaller pot. It’s like an elastic band: you can stretch it and stretch it but eventually it’s going to break.”
The number of Section 47 investigations this year is 185,450. That means one child in every 65 is the focus of a multi-agency investigation.
There are, however, huge regional differences: in Blackpool the figure is one in 14, five times the national average.
Councillor Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “We have warned that the situation across children’s services is fast becoming unsustainable, with a combination of reduced budgets and significantly increased demand for help and protection leaving many areas struggling to cope.”
Has your school seen an increase in children being supported through child protection plans? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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