Over 2,000 children 'in need' in Sunderland

The number of children ‘in need’ in Sunderland has has fallen to below pre-pandemic levels, despite an increase nationally, new figures show.

Fewer children 'in need' in Sunderland.
Fewer children 'in need' in Sunderland.

The city had 2,114 children deemed to be in need of help on March 31 this year – down nine per cent from 2,314 a year before and also six per cent below the figure of 2,245 in March 2020.

That is 544 per 10,000 – still well above England's overall rate of 334 per 10,000.

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The figures are from the Department of Education's annual census, which includes children on social care and protection plans, those looked after by the local authority and disabled children.

The data shows there were also 4,092 assessments carried out in Sunderland – with ​abuse or neglect making up 65% of cases and 325 child protection plans in place for children who were considered to be at risk.

Sarah Wayman, The Children's Society head of policy and research, said: "We have seen how successive lockdowns have left many children feeling more worried about their future.

"All this takes its toll on children’s wellbeing and can lead to mental health conditions.”

She added: “Lockdowns also meant some children may have been left more exposed to problems at home."

England had 404,310 children in need at the end of March – up 4.5% from 2021 and up 3.9% from 2020.

A Department of Education said the return to in-person classes after Covid-19 restrictions was likely to have contributed to the increase and that it was "strengthening links" between social care and education to keep vulnerable children in education and providing funding for pupils with social workers or in care.