DfE statistics reveal increase in children becoming the subject of a child protection plan
More children became the subject of a child protection plan in 2014-15, according to figures published by the Department for Education.
There were 49,700 children who were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March 2015, compared with 39,100 six years ago when the children in need census began.
More children became the subject of a child protection plan this year, continuing the recent trend. In 2015, 62,200 children became the subject of a child protection plan compared to 59,800 last year. The number of children starting a child protection plan is largely driven by section 47 enquiries.
Referrals dropped slightly this year after a larger than usual increase last year. There were 635,600 referrals in the year ending 31 March 2015 – down by 3% from 657,800 the previous year. Most referrals originated from the police followed by schools and the health service.
At the initial assessment most children’s primary need is due to abuse or neglect and the proportion is up on last year, from 47.2% to 49.4%. Family dysfunction is the second most common need, 17.9% this year down from 18.6% last year.
Factors identified at the end of assessment are in addition to the primary need identified at assessment and were collected and reported for the first time last year. Domestic violence was the most common factor identified, flagged in 48.2% of episodes, followed by mental health at 32.5%. Child sexual exploitation was flagged in three per cent of cases.
The number of children in need at 31 March decreased slightly this year. There were 391,000 children in need, down 2% on last year but up 4% on 31 March 2010.