Children in care hits a record level

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THE number of children put into council care in Doncaster has hit a record level.

A report before Doncaster Council’s schools, children and young people overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday revealed the current number is 522.

The document, by council director of children’s services Chris Pratt, revealed the council dealt with record demand for child protection plans this year, with 494 drawn up.

The current figure for children in care is up from 510 in March this year.

Council officials say the March figure had been up on the previous year, when 450 were in care.

A Doncaster Council spokesman said there had been an increase nationally, and the authority was trying to carry out preventative work to deal with the problem. It has contributed to an overspend by the children’s services department.

The total overspend is expected to be £3.9 million. The rise has been contributed to by an increase in the bill for children’s foster care, which is now £4.9 million, and the cost of agency staff, which was £1 million last year.