Funding shortages have pushed 88% of councils to overspend their budgets on protecting vulnerable children, according to research.
The Local Government Association found 133 out of 152 councils recorded a total overspend of £806m in 2017-18.
Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “This should be a wake-up call to the country-wide crisis we are facing in funding services to protect vulnerable children and young people, which as these figures show is now being felt in all towns and cities across the country.”
The LGA estimates that councils face a £3.1bn funding gap by 2025 to maintain current levels of children’s services.
Analysis by LGC last year found council overspends on children’s social care had soared to 10% in the last financial year.