Figures relating to the number of children in need in England in the period 2014–15 were published yesterday (22 October 2015) by the Department of Education
The statistical release includes information on numbers of referrals to and assessments made by children’s social care in England. It also provides the number of local authorities operating a continuous assessment model, and the number of children who became the subject of a child protection plan.
Overall, the number of children in need decreased in 2015: 391,000 at 31 March 2015, a decline of 2% from 397,000 in 2014. However, the longer term trend remained relatively stable.
More children (49,700) were the subject of a child protection plan as at 31 March 2015 than at 31 March 2014 (48,300). This is a significant increase on the 39,100 children who were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March 2010 (the children in need census began in 2009) and follows the continuing upward trend of these figures in recent years. However, the 26-week time limit introduced on 22 April 2014 for concluding care proceedings has seen the percentage of children who ceased to be the subject of a child protection plan increase from 86% in 2009–10 to 97% in 2014–15.
Referrals to social care dropped slightly this year, following a larger than usual increase in numbers in 2014. 635,000 referrals were made in the year ending 31 March 2015, which showed a 3% decline from 657,800 the previous year.
There was a 71% increase this year in the number of local authorities operating a continuous assessment model: 139 (91%) were undertaking assessments by the end of March 2015. This year 550,810 assessments were completed, with an average duration of 28 working days.
These figures, and several more relating to the number of children in need between 2014 and 2015, can be accessed and downloaded here.