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Children in Need

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One in 50 children in the UK are classed as ‘Children in Need’ before they are even born.

A study of Government figures show that more than 7,000 of such vulnerable children have been put in the category of ‘Children in Need’ before their birth. The number of unborn children in this category has almost trebled in the last eight years. The most common concerns in relation to these Children in Need are abuse and neglect, with children being born into dysfunctional families.

The Department for Education recently published annual figures showing there were 400,000 so called ‘Children in Need’ in total. These children are thought to be at risk of being significantly impaired without intervention from the Local Authority (Social Services) or extra support. The biggest factors effecting these children are domestic violence and abuse, parents with mental health problems and drug and alcohol abuse. An average of 88 children are taken into care each day due to these factors.

Children may be placed on a Child Protection Plan or other interventions may be made by Social Services. Domestic violence is the biggest threat for children and pre-birth children, with many of them being placed on a Child Protection Plan, by way of monitoring and in an attempt to protect them from risk of harm. Children are the hidden victims of domestic violence and abuse. The number of unborn children at risk continues to rise. The figures for 2018 – 2019 show a new high of 7,360 unborn children considered vulnerable. This figure has risen steadily over recent years from 2,630 in 2010- 2011. Whilst these figures appear to indicate that the odds are already stacked against these children, they also show a sharp rise in the number of children being monitored before their birth.

In more than 50% of Children in Need cases, over 200,000 involved domestic violence and abuse. Children not only witness domestic violence and abuse, they experience it too. Thousands of children are living in homes filled with fear, frightened of what will happen next.

The Local Government Association said, ‘It is absolutely vital that councils are able to support families and help children who are at risk of significant harm, but it is also important that help is available before problems escalate to that point.’

Every child deserves support to live free from fear and abuse.

At Johnson Astills we have a dedicated Domestic Violence and Abuse Department and Child Care team. If you have any further questions and require legal advice please contact Johnson Astills on 0116 2554855, or visit our website.