Search

Looked-after children in Suffolk reaches five-year high as funding cuts start to bite

PUBLISHED: 10:17 13 October 2017

Suffolk has seen the second biggest rise in the number of 'looked-after children' in the region in the last two years, government figures show. Pictur:: PA

Suffolk has seen the second biggest rise in the number of 'looked-after children' in the region in the last two years, government figures show. Pictur:: PA

This content is subject to copyright.

Action is needed over stretched children’s services in Suffolk, it has been warned, after figures showed a five year high of youngsters now in care.

Suffolk has seen the second-biggest rise in the number of “looked-after children” in the region in the last two years, government figures show.

These are youngsters who are in the care of the local authority, such as those in foster care or waiting to be adopted.

There were 830 at the end of March this year, up by 100 in two years, fuelled by an increase in unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and a fall in adoption rates. It was the highest figure in Suffolk in the last five years.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged the government to plug a funding gap to help councils support families and vulnerable children.

Helen Armitage, Labour group spokesman for children’s services, said she was “gravely concerned”.

She said: “There are many reasons why children are taken into care: neglect or abuse; families unable to cope with their behaviour needs; when a victim of war becomes an unaccompanied child seeking asylum. Each story is a tragedy, but in the end it is the local authority picking up the bill.

“There is no magic bullet to resolve the issues (but) more funding is needed, more preventative programmes are needed, and more innovative thinking is needed to stop this crisis becoming an even bigger disaster for those caught in the care system.

Funding cuts have impacted and action is needed.”

The data also showed in Suffolk:

■ Seventy children were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in 2016/17. There were 10 three years ago.

■ 18 per cent of looked after children were adopted in 2017. It was 29% three years ago.

■ 12pc of looked after children were reported missing in 2016/17.

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services at Suffolk County Council, said: “The increase reflects national trends.

“This is largely due to an increase in unaccompanied asylum seeking children taken as part of the national dispersal scheme and spontaneous arrivals.

“Our priority is to ensure that all vulnerable children are appropriately supported.

Our children’s services are currently rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

“Their report highlighted areas of outstanding practice within the council’s children in care teams.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other news

11:36

The mother of a five-year-old boy has spoken out against the Ofsted rating given to her son’s school, describing it as “his happy place.”

11:00

It’s a chance to dust off those trainers, get back onto court and play the sport you love at a slightly slower pace.

15:09

Forecasted heavy snow fall and sub-zero temperatures has forced Greater Anglia to put in place a contingency plan which could see trains cancelled across Norfolk and Suffolk.

11:35

More Norfolk and Suffolk drivers are getting on board the green revolution as figures show a huge rise in electric cars on our roads.

Most Read

11:36

The mother of a five-year-old boy has spoken out against the Ofsted rating given to her son’s school, describing it as “his happy place.”

Read more
Yesterday, 09:12

Proposals to restore Lowestoft’s Town Hall as a potential new home for the record office have been unanimously backed by councillors.

Read more
Fri, 13:10

Lowestoft’s brand new B&M store was opened to the public today by the Deputy Mayor and the Lowestoft Lions.

Read more
Fri, 17:02

A second overnight closure of a main road in Lowestoft has been announced.

Read more
Met Office
Yesterday, 09:48

A school has been deemed inadequate after inspectors identified an inconsistent quality of teaching and a lack of opportunity for pupils to fulfil their potential.

Read more

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 2°C

min temp: -1°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter