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Area-deprivation, social care spending and the rates of children in care proceedings in local authorities in England

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Children and Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)578-595
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/04/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper examined relationships between area-level deprivation, local authorities’ social care expenditure and the rates of children entering care proceedings in England using a novel data linkage of de-identified records provided by the Children and Family Court Advisory Service (Cafcass). Using structural equation modelling, the authors found strong positive relationships between socio-economic area deprivation and high rates of children undergoing care proceedings in England between 2015 and 2019. Preventative social care expenditure is associated with lower child rates when adjusting for deprivation. Our findings suggest that deprived and underfunded local authorities respond to an increased need by prioritizing care arrangements.