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- Cost of Children in need in England Sept/Oct 2001

- Preliminary results of survey of activity and expenditure by local Authorities
This report summarises the provisional results of a survey of Children in Need and the activity and expenditure reported by Social Services in respect of provision for Children in Need in a "typical" week in September/October 2001. The figures update an earlier survey - the first of its kind - in February 2000.

Key findings from 2001 census
Numbers of Children in Need:
- There were approximately 376,000 Children in Need in England in 2001;
- 69,000 of them were Children Looked After and the remaining 307,000 were other Children in Need;
- Social Services are providing services for nearly a quarter of a million
Children in Need in a typical week;
- 90% of Children Looked After and 52% of other Children in Need receive a service or have money spent on their behalf in a typical week (either in terms of staff/centre time or in terms of cost of the Local Authority paying for provision needed - e.g. residential costs);
- authorities report about 12,600 asylum seeking children in need.
Characteristics of Children in Need:
- The main need for social service intervention for children is cases of
"abuse and neglect" which account for just over half (55%) of all Children
Looked After and 26% of other Children in Need;
- About 13% of the Children in Need population are disabled, and they
received 15% of gross expenditure on Children in Need;
- At least 17% of Children in Need are from ethnic minorities (which is almost twice the figure for the under 18 population as a whole from the census).
Costs and resources: - Services for Children in Need cost Social Services on average about £50m per week, £31m per week on Children Looked After, and £19m per week on other Children in Need;
- Nearly half of these Children's costs are accounted for by regular payments (on residential/fostering/adoption costs) for Children Looked
- The average Child Looked After receives 3.4 hours per week of service from Social Work staff either in teams or centres, of which 0.2 hours is in group work; - Other Children in Need receive on average about 2.4 hours per week of staff or centre time, of which 0.6 hours is group work .
comparison with 2000 census:
- The number of children receiving services fell by 3%; the number of Children Looked After receiving services rose by 8% but this was offset by a fall of 6% in the numbers of children supported in their families and receiving a service.
- The cost of providing services to Children in Need rose by about 26% from £40.1m per week in 2000 to £50.4m per week in 2001;
- The average amount spent per child per week on Children in Need rose by just under 30%; the increase for Children Looked After was 15% from £435 per week to £500 per week, and for children supported in their families up 33% from £90 per week to £120 per week.

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