Ninety children a day are taken into care in England and Wales, a shock report reveals.
New government figures show that thousands of children have been put in care already this year and Ministers have said money is being targeted to help out.
The number of children actually in care is a record 72,670. The number is the highest its been since 2016 in seven years.
It comes after recent figures showed that as many as 140,000 children at risk of abuse and neglect might not be getting help because-strapped local authorities have been forced to shrink family support.
And the Local Government Association, at a conference on care in Bournemouth, says children’s services face a £2bn a year funding gap by 2020.
Prof Ray Jones, a social services improvement expert, said: “What I am hearing from social workers is that they are having to spend most of the time ‘firefighting’ with the most serious concerns that get presented to them.
“They are spending a lot of time, including late into the night and at weekends, preparing for court proceedings. The consequence of that is the considerable stress they feel over concerns that they may be missing something.”
Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “Children’s services are at a tipping point with growing demand for support combining with ongoing council funding pressures to become unsustainable.
“Last year saw the biggest rise in the number of children in care for seven years.
“With 90 children coming into care every day, our calls for urgent funding to support these children and invest in children and their families are becoming increasingly urgent.”
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said councils would receive more than £200bn for local services, including children’s social care, up to 2020.
He said: “All children deserve the best possible support. And while some councils are doing excellent work, we want to help ensure more local authorities provide good and outstanding services.”