Analysis by the Local Government Association has found that growing demand for social care services, coupled with funding cutbacks, are forcing three quarters of councils to overspend on their children's services budgets, by a total of £605m in 2015/16.
The LGA says extra money is having to be channeled into urgent support for children and families in crisis, which is leaving little to invest in early intervention.
Funding for early help has been further hit by a £500m cut in the Early Intervention Grant to councils since 2013. The LGA predicting this will drop by a further £183m by 2020, representing a 40 per cent reduction over 10 years.
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