The number of children placed on protection plans is continuing to rise, government figures show. Statistics published by the Department for Education show that as of 31 March this year there were 51,080 children on child protection plans, an increase of 770, or 1.5 per cent, on the 50,310 recorded in 2016. The figure is now 30.64 per cent higher than in March 2010 – when it stood at 39,100. The number of referrals to children’s services, defined as a request for services to be provided by children’s social care and is in respect of a child who is not currently in need, also rose. In 2016/17 there were 646,120 referrals, a 3.97 per cent increase on the 2015/16 figure of 621,470. It represents the second highest figure this decade, behind the 657,790 referrals recorded in 2014. Read more.