An estimated 61,000 children will come into the care system in England in the next two years, according to the Local Government Association.
Statistical analysis, carried out for the LGA by the National Foundation for the Educational Research (NFER), reveals that the recent increase in child protection referrals could lead to an increase of nearly 35 per cent in the number of children starting to be looked after in 2011/12 compared to 2007/8.
The LGA is calling for a reduction in bureaucracy to allow social workers to spend more time with the children they are working to protect. The council leaders claim that on average, only 13 per cent of the time taken to complete an initial assessment is spent with the child or family but 87 per cent is spent on paperwork and process. They would like all professionals, such as health workers and teachers, to record information about at-risk children in the same way, using the Common Assessment Framework to reduce the effort needed to cross-reference information.
Cllr Shireen Ritchie, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: "Some paperwork is essential to doing the best possible job, but it is right to try to reduce bureaucracy where it can ease the pressure on social workers and increase the quality of care offered to children.
“It is time to show more trust in our social workers to do the right thing for children. It is time for professionals like the police and health service workers to step up to the mark and show they understand the part they have to play in helping social workers reach the most vulnerable children first," Cllr Ritchie added.