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Hackney Council remains committed to children's service despite more kids entering care

PUBLISHED: 14:54 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:55 01 November 2017

Anntoinette Bramble

Anntoinette Bramble

Archant

Fears over an increase in the number of children entering care have been allayed by Hackney Council, which has reiterated its commitment to early years support.

The Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, has released figures showing that the number of children being taken into care in Hackney between March 2016 and March 2017 was 370 – 40 more than the year previously.

At its national children and adult services conference in October, the LGA said national figures – showing a seven year high of kids taken into care – highlight the “urgent need” for the government’s autumn statement this month to address the £2billion funding gap facing the children’s budget by 2020.

Despite the year-on-year increase in Hackney, the council says the number of children in care in 2017 (0.59per cent) is lower than the national average (0.62pc), and that the number of looked-after children in the borough had reduced to 345 children by September.

“Taking children into care is a big decision and one that our children and families service takes very seriously,” said Cllr Bramble. “A child’s best interest is always at the centre of everything they do.

“We are continuing to analyse possible reasons for the increase, but this is likely to be a combination of a number of factors including population growth, welfare reform restricting benefits young people are able to claim, wider pressures on families and the improved awareness of risks to young people.”

The LGA is also calling on MPs to invest in improving children’s services by devolving a proportion of the Department for Education’s £300 million budget for centrally-run improvement and innovation programmes to councils.

Richard Watts, the LGA’s education chief, said: “Children’s services are at a tipping point with growing demand for support combining with council funding pressures to become unsustainable.

“Our calls for urgent funding to support these children are becoming increasingly urgent.

“If nothing is done to address this funding gap crucial services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on will be put at risk.”

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