More than 1,500 children in need in Luton
and live on Freeview channel 276
There are more than 1,500 children needing extra protection or support in Luton, new figures show.
Figures from the Department of Education show there were 1,647 children assessed as needing help and protection because of risks to their development or health in Luton as of March 31 this year – down slightly from 1,673 the year before.
Children in need include unborn children, as well as young people aged 18 or over who continue to receive care, accommodation or support from children’s services. The rate of children in need in Luton was 281 per 10,000 children, below England's overall rate of 343 per 10,000.
Louise Gittins, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said the figures highlight the growing pressure on councils to support vulnerable children and families.
She added: "It is absolutely vital that the Autumn Statement ensures that children’s services are adequately funded so councils can meet this continually high demand and ensure children and their families get the support they need, as soon as they need it.
She said funding for all councils – not just those chosen for pilot schemes – could be invested in stabilising the current social care system and helping the Government "fulfil its ambitions for all children".
In Luton, there were 3,164 referrals referrals requesting services for children last year. Of them, 36.8 per cent were found to not need services.
After a child is referred to children’s social care services, an assessment is carried out to identify the primary need for services.
Some factors identified in assessments in Luton included domestic abuse concerns where the parent is a victim (12 per cent), mental health concerns about the parent (12 per cent), and emotional abuse (eight per cent).
A Department for Education spokesperson said reforms to children’s social care will focus on more early support for families and reducing the need for crisis response at a later stage.
They said: "This includes investing £45m through our families first for children's pathfinder to test major reforms to children’s services from family help to the edge of care, including child protection."