Children: Social Services

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

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the demand likely to be placed upon children’s social care services in the autumn.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and they can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

We are aware that there may be an increase in demand for children’s social care services in autumn. We are monitoring referrals via our regional teams and via a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey, which collects data fortnightly from local authorities in England. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures as well as the number of referrals to children’s social care. We are planning to publish the data in due course.

The government has provided £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s services.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as the outbreak progresses.

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