Two million children ‘at serious risk’, children’s commissioner finds

Around one in six of all children in England – a total of 2.1 million – are at “serious risk” due to complex family problems, with the majority of them “invisible” to the state and “let down” by the system, a study by the children’s commissioner for England has found. A report looking into the scale of childhood vulnerability found that of the 2.1 million at serious risk because their parents have serious mental health or substance abuse problems, they live in a home affected by domestic violence, they are suffering from material deprivation, or have to care for a family member. Of these many are known to statutory services or receiving support – 310,000 children are classified as “children in need”, 410,000 are in families that are being, or have previously been, supported by the Troubled Families programme, and 30,000 are the registered with their council as a young carer. However, due to overlaps, such as many of the children receiving support through the Troubled Families programme also being children in need, the report calculates that the total number of children who are known to receive some kind of support actually comes to 570,000. The report said that this leaves 1.6 million children, 76 per cent of the total, who are “invisible”, living in vulnerable situations but receiving no known support or help from the system. Read more.

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