The number of children deemed to be at risk of abuse or neglect has risen markedly over the last year, government figures show. Department for Education statistics show that councils started 68,770 child protection plans in 2018 – the equivalent of 188 a day – up 3.6 per cent on the 66,410 started in 2017. As of 31 March this year there were 53,790 children on protection plans, an increase of 2,710, or 5.3 per cent, on the 2017 figure. It represents the biggest rise since 2014, when the number rose by 5,110, from 43,190 at the end of March 2013 to 48,300 in 2014. The figures also show a jump in the number of children deemed to be in need of support over the last year, reversing a fall in the figures between 2016 and 2017. As of 31 March this year there were 404,710 children in need, up four per cent on the previous year, when 389,040 were classed as being in need. Read more.