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Record number of children in care system

Council leaders have warned a record number of children are now in the care system, with 90 youngsters a day entering care last year.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the total number of looked after children reached a new high of 72,670 in 2016/17 - up from 70,440 the year before, which represents the biggest annual rise of children in care in seven years.

It called on the Government to address the £2bn funding gap facing children’s services by 2020 in the Budget next month.

Chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: ‘With 90 children coming into care every day, our calls for urgent funding to support these children and invest in children and their families are becoming increasingly urgent.

‘If nothing is done to address this funding gap crucial services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on will be put at risk.

‘We are calling on the Government to use the Budget to commit to fully funding children’s services, and invest in improving services to ensure vulnerable children get the appropriate support and protection they need.’

Foster carers should be ‘treated as professionals and properly remunerated,’ the leader of a government-commissioned sector stocktake has said.