Looked-after children: the silent crisis


This report from the UK think tank the Social Market Foundation gives a 2019 update on the silent crisis of looked-after children.

65% of vulnerable children are being cared for in areas where council services are failing them. The number of children in care getting unacceptable treatment has risen since the SMF first published “The Silent Crisis” report a year ago. This report analysed inspection data from Ofsted, which assesses local councils’ services for children in need of help and protection, looked-after children and care leavers. One year on, our updated analysis reveals that 48,723- 65% of all looked after children- are looked after in local authorities that are deemed to be falling short of a good standard. This number has risen considerably since our last update one year ago, when the number was 47,085. Of those children, 11,606 are receiving care services judged as “inadequate”- the worst possible grade. Additionally, this analysis showed that 62.5% of local authorities in England are providing services for these children which either “require improvement” or are simply “inadequate”. A growing number of children are being looked after in England. In the last year alone, the number of looked-after children in care rose by 3.8% to reach 75,420 children in 2018. The number of looked after children per 10,000 in England has risen from 60 in 2016 to 64 children in 2018.

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