Schools and social services

The growing number of referrals by schools to children’s social services is an alarming trend – and all the signs point to services that do not have the capacity to cope. Debbie Moss explains

The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children recently commissioned a survey of councillors with responsibility for children’s services, which found that 87 per cent agreed that demand has risen over the last two years.

And according to new government data out this month, schools are referring more vulnerable children to social services, with more than 114,000 cases last year. This represents an increase of nearly 11,000 since the year before.

What could be driving this increase in the number of children in need of help? In our survey, half of the councillors who said demand had increased cited poverty and hardship as a factor.

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