The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children’s services, including any increases in demand, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact.
We are monitoring referrals to children’s services via our regional teams and the Vulnerable Children and Young People survey, which collects data fortnightly from local authorities in England. The latest release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-survey.
Referrals to children’s social care services data do not show spikes in referrals in December in previous years. The data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need.
The government has provided £4.6 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s services, and we will continue to work closely with local authorities and monitor demand over the Christmas 2020 period.