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Council leaders warn of ‘growing crisis’ in north west children’s services

The north west’s cabinet leads for children’s services have written an open letter to Philip Hammond calling for funds to address the “growing crisis” in children’s social care.

In the letter, signed by councillors from 20 local authorities across the north west, Barry Kushner of Liverpool City Council said that the increased complexity of cases is creating overspends in their children’s services budget, whilst council budgets are also being cut.

They warned that this is an “unsustainable financial demand” for their councils.

According to the letter, over 13,000 children across the north west are being looked after, which is a 20-year high for the region, and the greatest number of children in care in any region in England.

In 2013 there was an increase in the number of looked after children by 12% - double the 6% increase seen in the rest of the country.

The councillors argue that analysis from the ‘Placements north west census’ reveals “sharp escalation in costs,’ with a £45m increase in the expenditure on residential care placements in the last year alone.

Kushner said: “We know that the sustainable solution to reducing children’s social care, is early intervention.

“But the increasing costs of children’s social care, is driving our limited resources away from funding early help.

“This is consistent with the national picture that is illustrated in the ‘Turning the Tide’ report produced by Action for Children, National Children’s Bureau and the Children’s Society.”

In 2016-17 the north west recorded 90,930 referrals - an increase of 2% on the previous year.

Top image: Ideabug

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