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Rising demand for child protection and care services

A recently published report has revealed that levels of demand for child protection and care services continue to rise nationally, and a majority of directors fear that pressures will continue to rise in future years. Local authorities are having variable amounts of success in using early help services to reduce demand on child protection social workers.

The third phase of the safeguarding pressures research, published by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, found overall increases nationally masked significant variation at a local level, with some authorities seeing rises of up to 100% in some types of activity, while others had seen decreases of 30% or more.

Those who had seen a decrease in child protection activity attributed the decline to:

  • increasing early help services,
  • better multi-agency working, and
  • increasing the speed with which children are found permanent placements.

Debbie Jones said:

“The key message of this research is that services for protecting children are part of a wider system, from early help through to permanent homes for children in care. It is necessary to consider the whole system, rather than piecemeal reform, in order to successfully manage budgets to cope with increasing pressure.

“Time taken to make a decision or complete a process in one part of the system has knock on effects in the rest of the system and the speed with which a child can be found a permanent home. Directors of Children’s Services have this holistic view and will be developing whole system approaches to reducing demand for child protection and care services while keeping children and young people safe from harm.”

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