One In 52 Blackpool Children In Care As Poverty Soars In North Of England

Statistics have been shared that shows one in every 52 children in Blackpool are the care system, compared with one in 140 across England. This grim data shows Blackpool is the worst in the country for children being placed in care. Other hard-hit areas include Hartlepool, in the North East, where the figure is one in 63, and North East Lincolnshire, where it is one in 57. This compares with one in every 278 for Hertfordshire and one in every 256 for Buckinghamshire, leading to calls for more to be done to urgently tackle the widening north-south divide.

The analytical report by the University of Liverpool warns that persistent poverty levels are a major driver of pushing children into the care system as hardship affects parents’ ability to cope, heightening stress, poor mental health, conflict, and vulnerability to domestic abuse.

Additionally, the report has revealed that these disproportionately high rates of children in care in the North of England compared to the South means that a £25 billion bill is currently being placed on stretched services in the region.

Dr Davara Bennett, the lead author of the report and Head of Public Health, Policy & Systems at the University of Liverpool, said: ‘Our report has exposed the deeply rooted social inequalities reflected in, and exacerbated by, the child welfare system. These need to be tackled head-on by policymakers.’

She stated that underinvestment has left councils trapped in a cycle of spending billions on looking after children in care at the expense of providing support for families in need, and added, ‘The evidence shows the damage caused by cuts to prevention and failure to address the very real problem of child poverty in the North.

There are a number of policies that, if implemented, could help reduce the number of children entering care and improve the care and support children and families receive when in need. We urge government to hear our calls for action and commit to addressing them as a priority.’

There were more than 83,000 children in care in England in 2023, with the report warning the risk of that number rising was high as health inequalities continued to widen and more and more families were falling into poverty, particularly in the North of England.

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