The Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, said official figures show the total number of looked after children reached a new high of 72,670 in 2016/17 - up from 70,440 the year before.
This also represents the biggest annual rise of children in care in seven years as stretched children’s services continue to face increasing pressure.
At its National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) in Bournemouth today, the LGA said the figures highlight the urgent need for the Chancellor to use his Autumn Statement next month to address the £2 billion funding gap facing children’s services by 2020.
This is the only way to ensure children and families are able to get the support they need, when they need it, to avoid children having to go into care wherever possible.
Without action, the numbers of children coming into care will continue to rise and councils will find it even harder to support them and their families.
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Children’s services are at a tipping point with growing demand for support combining with ongoing council funding pressures to become unsustainable.
“Last year saw the biggest rise in the number of children in care for seven years. With 90 children coming into care every day, our calls for urgent funding to support these children and invest in children and their families are becoming increasingly urgent.
“Children’s services face a £2 billion funding gap by 2020. If nothing is done to address this funding gap crucial services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on will be put at risk.
“We are calling on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to commit to fully funding children’s services and invest in improving services to ensure vulnerable children get the appropriate support and protection they need.”
The LGA is also calling on Ministers to invest in improving children’s services by devolving a proportion of the Department for Education’s £300 million budget for centrally-run improvement and innovation programmes to councils."
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