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More children 'in need of help'

The number of children needing help from social workers, health professionals and police is continuing to rise, experts warned.

Children's services directors said that unless investment into these sectors continued a "perfect storm" situation could develop as demand rose and resources reduced.

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) published updated figures of the ages of children needing local authority support because they were deemed to be "in need".

Since 2007/8, local authority children's services departments have seen an increase in demand for all "front door" child protection services, across all age groups and in most need categories.

There has also been an increase in the amount of children being looked after across all age groups and the most serious need categories.

Figures show a 52.3% increase in the number of referrals due to suspected abuse or neglect and a 63.3% increase in children under the age of one with a child protection plan.

Marion Davis, president of ADCS said: "This research shows that there is trouble brewing in child protection teams up and down the country with rising demand and the threat of reductions in preventative services.

"Without investment in early intervention, we risk creating a perfect storm - as demand rises and resources reduce, the current early intervention schemes will come under increased pressure as resources are siphoned off to cope with demands on statutory services."


From Belfast Telegraph