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Last week it was reported that there are 20,000 more children in care in England than there were the last decade. This is an increase of 28%, meaning there are now 78,150 looked after children in 2020, 18,160 of them being subject to Child Protection Plans. Michelle Donelan, children’s minister, has described the rise as “simply not good enough”.
The Local Government Association has described the increase as an ‘unsustainable’ demand due to cuts to Local Authority funding of Social Services. Katharine Sacks-Jones, Chief Executive of the children’s charity Become, described the system as “overstretched”, and noted that it is “young people who are bearing the brunt of the crisis”.
The lack of funding in Social Care resulted in Local Authorities overspending by £800 million last year in an attempt to keep children safe. In spite of this additional expenditure, however, children and young people continue to be accommodated in unregulated and illegal housing, and are consequently at risk of exploitation from both drug gangs and sexual predators. Sam Royston, director of policy and research at the Children’s Society, noted that “children and families are continuing to pay the price of years of cuts to local councils”. This coincides with the fact that there has been a 139% increase in ‘serious cases’ in which the Local Authority considers a young person to be at risk of suffering significant harm.
Natalie Marrison, Partner comments: "At Ramsdens Solicitors, we often see failings because of the high demand on Local Authorities, as they are unable to sustain consistent care for the children. This is evidenced by often a frequent change in social worker involvement, resulting in barriers to create meaningful and trusted relationships.
"Our Personal Injury and Abuse team investigate claims where Local Authorities have breached their duty of care towards those they have assumed responsibility for. We focus on therapeutic care both main stream and alternative, working alongside charities to ensure that the best possible outcome is reached for those vulnerable parties who have been failed."
Our Personal Injury and Abuse departments at Ramsdens Solicitors have a wealth of knowledge in representing children in claims arising from neglectful care and abusive treatment, often where Local Authorities have assumed responsibility for that child.
If you would like a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please contact 0113 887 1834 to book a free information session at any of our offices.