Engage: Record high Section 47s leave vulnerable children facing ‘generational trauma’

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) CEO, Dr. Ruth Allen, has warned the Government that we are facing “generational trauma” for children who are stuck in poverty and increasingly at risk of neglect, following the unveiling of data showing a record high in Section 47s.

The Department of Education’s ‘Characteristics of children in need: 2016 to 2017 England’ shows Section 47 enquiries increased from 172,290 in 2016 to 185,450 in 2017, an increase of 7.6%.

This is the highest number of Section 47s over the past seven years, and continues the trend of year-on-year increase. Furthermore, this year saw the biggest single annual increase since 2010.

In comments to Jason Farrell, Sky News’ senior political correspondent, Allen urged the Government to acknowledge the consequences of austerity.

She said: “The Government needs to see that those social policies on things like welfare benefits, on employment tax credits, housing, also impact the welfare of children.

“In the long run this means generational trauma for children.”

The annual report showed that while the number of children in need decreased from 394,400 in 2016 to 389,430 in 2017, the number of overall referrals increased from 621,470 in 2016 to 646,120 in 2017, an increase of 4%.

Also, in addition to the rise in Section 47s, the number of child protection plans increased 1.5% from 50,310 in 2016 to 51,080 in 2017.