Demand for children's social care services (CSC) is rising across the country. Our work with councils and access to accurate, unpublished case and finance data clearly indicates that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on demand, and a related rise in costs.
Our data indicates that, as we exit a third national lockdown, this increased demand is likely to recur. In some cases the situation might be worse.
We have collated this data so that councils can use it to understand the situation and put themselves in the best position to prepare for it.
The two graphs below show the trend in 20 councils in: the number of external CSC residential placements made between April to June 2020 (when the first national lockdown and school closures occurred), and then immediately following (July to December 2020). These councils are a random mix of unitaries, counties, metropolitan boroughs and city councils. The results are stark.
Trend in residential placements
When we assessed the average cost of external CSC residential placements for the same 20 councils, our research also found that there had been an increase in costs - rising 6% in the six months from April 2020, compared to a 5% increase across the whole year from April 2019 to March 2020.