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New data shows record number of child protection investigations in England

Published: 28th October 2022

2 minute read

Data has been released today by the Department for Education that shows in the last year there has been a record number of children subject to child protection investigations in England.

Last year one in every 64 children in England was subject to a child protection enquiry. Child protection enquiries (section 47 investigations) have increased by 9.6% since 2020/1.  Since 2009/10, there has been an enormous 144% increase.

Only 29% of these investigations resulted in a Child Protection Plan, which are made when the state believes the child has or is likely to suffer significant harm, compared to around half in 2009/10. The number of Child Protection Plans increased by 1.8% in 2021/22.

Cathy Ashley, Family Rights Group’s Chief Executive, said:

“This new data shows a children’s social care system in crisis.”

“More and more families are being subject to the stress and anxiety of intrusive child protection investigations without it concluding that a child is a significant risk of harm. The Independent Review on Children’s Social Care rightly concluded that, “improving child protection is not the same as increasing the amount of child protection activity”. The system too often spends time and scarce resources on intrusive investigations that often do not result in a child protection plan, serving only to increase the pressure on families in difficulty at a time when extra support would make a difference.”

“The child welfare system urgently needs reform and investment in early help if it is going to deliver for families and children.”

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