The average of number of child protection investigations started each day has more than doubled in a decade, research by the Local Government Association has found.
The LGA said there were 500 investigations in 2016-17 compared to 200 in 2006-7.
The research also found a child was referred to children’s services department, on average, every 49 seconds last year.
Government figures show there were a total of 646,120 referrals children’s services departments in 2016-17. This equates to an average of 1,770 referrals a day, which is the equivalent of one every 49 seconds.
The LGA said the figures demonstrate the urgent need for the government to use the final local government finance settlement to address a £2bn funding gap facing children’s services by the end of the decade.
Chair of the LGA’s children and young people board Richard Watts (Lab) said: “The government has been warned repeatedly that ongoing funding cuts, including the £2billion gap that councils face by 2020, have left them struggling to provide the support that vulnerable children and families need.
“Unless there is an injection of funding to support crucial early intervention, many more vulnerable children remain at risk.”
Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Social workers are struggling to cope with unprecedented caseloads and are working long hours without breaks, as they try to protect the vulnerable children on their patch.
“But their jobs are becoming even harder as referrals soar, and budgets are squeezed. This understandably is causing huge stress and anxiety as staff worry that cases are slipping through the net.
“Children can’t be protected from abuse on the cheap. The government must give councils the cash they need to recruit more child protection staff and keep all children safe.”
Unison also expressed concern about £11m government money being spent on developing the national assessment and accreditation system which the union said will make social workers’ jobs even harder.