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ADCS Safeguarding Pressures Phase 5 – Main Report

Every child deserves a happy, safe childhood. Whilst most children grow up and thrive for some, the services we provide are essential to promoting their welfare and keeping them safe from harm.

Children’s services are facing some of their most pressing challenges in that, there is a rising number of children and young people in need of help and support and at the same time councils are having to make tough decisions about their spending in times of financial austerity. Councils have responded by reshaping and redesigning their services to target areas of most need but this means that reductions to vital early help and preventative services have been necessary.

The Association has collected data from local authorities in five phases spanning 2007/8 to 2015/16 in order to evidence and better understand any changes in demand for, and provision of, children’s social care services. ADCS Safeguarding Pressures research has become a valued reference point in the sector providing an evidence base for operational, strategic managers and policy makers. The current phase of this study brings the evidence base up to date and many of the pressures identified in Phase 4 continue; neglect remains the most prevalent category of abuse in child protection plans and the ‘toxic trio’ continues to be a growing reason for involvement of children’s social care.

This year we received the highest ever response rate covering 90% of children and young people under the age of 18. I’d like to thank everybody who took part in this research for providing such rich evidence and collaborating with such readiness, honesty and thoughtfulness. Without you this research wouldn’t have been possible.

Protecting children from harm is one of the most important things we do. Despite the challenging context in which we operate local authorities remain committed to providing high quality services to those in need so that the UK can continue to be a great place for children to grow up.