The number of vulnerable children taken into care or placed on the child protection register has risen for the fifth year in a row, The Guardian has claimed.
The newspaper obtained government data via a Freedom of Information request. According to the findings, the number of children entering the care system rose by 8 per cent across the five year coalition government – the equivalent of around 5,000 children.
Meanwhile, the number of children subject to child protection measures and monitoring by social workers shot up by 33 per cent over the same period, reaching 52,000.
Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 states that local authorities must investigate the welfare of children when they
“…have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.”
The number of section 47 enquiries conducted over the lifetime of the coalition government rose still further – by 42 per cent, The Guardian reports, reaching approximately 159,000.
Alison O’Sullivan, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, was unequivocal in blaming government policies for the rise.
She told the paper:
“What we are seeing is a consequence of austerity over an extended period. Pressures on the benefit system and the way it washes through will have a great impact on these families, many of whom were struggling in the first place.”