England’s pandemic crisis of child abuse, neglect and poverty

Foster places in short supply and council budgets buckling as social service referrals increase by up to 40% in some areas

A looming crisis of children suffering abuse, neglect and poverty has been exposed, with growing numbers of young people taken into care in some of England’s most deprived communities during the pandemic.

A Guardian investigation into the state of children’s services in the last 18 months has revealed a sharp rise in social services referrals during lockdown, plus spiralling costs for mental health support and a bulging backlog in the family courts, with some councils buckling under the weight of the extra work brought by coronavirus.

Some local authorities are expected to overspend by up to £12m on children’s services this year, and leaders say they are “down to brass tacks” as they struggle to deal with the increase in demand.

Read the full article in the Guardian here.