Sharp rise in spending on special guardianship support

Government data also shows that spending on asylum seeker services for children rose by a quarter compared to the previous year

Special guardianship support spending by local authorities increased by 27% last year, government figures show.

In total, councils in England spent £158.5 million on supporting people who had taken out special guardianship orders in 2014-15, compared to £124.2 million the previous year.

Likewise, the total spend on asylum seeker services for children rose by a quarter year-on-year, with more than £64 million spent in 2014-15, compared with £51 million the year before.

The figures reflect a growing number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in care, and authorities responding to the huge rise in special guardianship orders made, which have increased in number by 193% since 2010.

Increased spend on children’s services

The figures, published last week, also showed an increase of more than £100 million in councils’ overall spending on looked-after children, to £3.77 billion.

Concerns over the quality and amount of special guardianship support have been repeated throughout the past year, as people raised fears that local authorities were using the order, which often only comes with financial support below the amount given to professional foster carers, to save money.

A Community Care investigation this month revealed that one in four special guardianship orders made in 2014 had a supervision order attached, and experts said this could reflect uncertainty about special guardianship support provision.

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