31 Oct 2019

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said: “The significant increase in children at risk of gang involvement and trafficking – and the numbers of all children subject to child protection investigations - are of real concern. 

“We see through our frontline work the devastating impact upon children who are groomed and exploited to traffic drugs in county lines operations and the violence that goes with that. 

“Yet years of funding cuts have left councils struggling to provide vital early support to at-risk children and their families, including those at risk of exploitation - meaning the challenges they are facing are more likely to escalate and put them in danger. 

“Help too often falls short or is short-lived and it is worrying how the number of re-referrals to children’s services has continued to rise. 

“These figures should act as a wake-up call to all political parties.  We would urge them to use their election manifestoes to commit to urgently addressing the £3bn funding shortfall facing children’s social care by 2025 and a plan for supporting councils to offer better early support. 

“A national strategy is needed to offer councils, police and other agencies guidance on how to better respond to child criminal exploitation, including through early intervention.” 

The statistics can be seen here

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