New report reveals children in Hertfordshire are spending longer in care due to Covid-19

Hertfordshire county council said there were over 800 children in care as of the end of September. Credit: ITV News

Children in Hertfordshire are spending longer in care because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

Hertfordshire county council said there were over 800 children in care as of the end of September, which is said to be the highest level for some years.

886

Children in care in Hertfordshire at the end of September

The report suggests the increase is a reflection of the impact Covid-19 has had on the care system, and highlighted a range of reasons for the this, including:

  • Delays to court proceedings

  • Impact of the pandemic on carrying out direct work with families in order to facilitate children and young people returning home

Hertfordshire County Council say there are many reasons why children are remaining in the care system for longer. Credit: ITV News

According to the report, court delays are also having a huge impact on the council's budget for looked after children.

The council is predicting a £1.6m Covid-related spend in this area in 2020/21 'principally due to fewer children and young people leaving care.'

This spending relates to the ongoing costs of contact between children and their parents, care placements lasting for longer and increases on caseload for social workers.

Foster families have been taking pictures of how they've kept busy over lockdown to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers. Credit: ITV News Anglia

While the report suggests these costs will remain high over the next 18 months, staff at the council say they're confident things will soon get moving again.

I think it was really during the main lockdown period which has caused the backlog. So I think we are confident that things will start to move forward now.

Lynn Knowles, Children's Services

Read more about foster care in the Anglia region using the links below: