An estimated 15,000 more young people are set to be taken into care in the next three years as cuts eat further into council budgets, authorities have warned.
Numbers are likely to increase by a fifth to reach 95,000 within three years unless Rishi Sunak’s government acts on expert advice and puts in more cash, council bosses said.
Local authority chiefs said have been forced to reduce spending on preventive services by at least £400m since 2015 and warned of spiralling bills for children going into care as numbers soar.
It comes as official figures show the number of children in England referred to social services who are assessed as needing help is at its highest level for four years, at 404,310 – up 4.1 per cent on last year.
Referrals increased by 9 per cent in the past year, from 597,760 in 2020-21 to 650,270.