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Children: Social Services

Department for Education written question – answered on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of demand for children’s services and (b) the adequacy of funding allocated to children’s services in each year since 2010.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We monitor the number of looked-after children, the number of children with child protection plans and the number of children in need on an ongoing basis.

Data since 2013 at a local authority level is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-interactive-tool-lait.

Data on children in need and service use since 2010 at a national level is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need and https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-looked-after-children.

The most common factors recorded in children’s social care assessments are domestic abuse and mental health. These have consistently been the top 2 factors for the years during which we have collected this data and have risen in line with trends in demand.

Over the 5-year period from 2015 to 2020, councils will have had access to more than £200 billion. Within that, we have seen councils prioritise spending on the most vulnerable children, with spending on child protection increasing from £2.2 billion in 2015-16 to £2.4 billion in 2018-19. To help support local authorities to meet rising demand, the government is providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adult and children's social care in every year of this Parliament. This is on top of the continuation of the £410 million social care grant in 2020-21.

The government remains committed to reforming local government finance, including the review of relative needs and resources. This review aims to develop a robust, up-to-date approach to distributing funding, and we are expecting to implement it in 2021-22 in line with the outcome of a new multi-year Spending Review.

Also, as set out in the manifesto, the government is committed to undertaking a review of the care system that covers the key issues facing vulnerable children and young people.

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