THE number of children in the care of Blackburn with Darwen Council has risen in the last three months.

The authority is now looking after 383 young people.

There are 255 on its ' Child in Need' register and 165 under Child Protection Orders.

The figures were reported to Blackburn with Darwen's full Council Forum meeting on Thursday by children's services boss Cllr Julie Gunn.

She told colleagues: "You will note that our children looked after numbers have increased since July – up from 373 to 383.

"The impact of neglect is felt more significantly in larger sibling groups where parents can be overwhelmed and where their own life experiences and early childhood traumas have contributed to a lack of ability to safely parent.

"The increase relates to large sibling groups who have needed to come into care.

"Our staff have maintained a business as usual approach to their roles during the pandemic and are now more free to interact on a face to face basis with their children and families.

"Some of our older teenagers have enjoyed using social media and their smart phones to stay in touch with their social workers and social workers have fed back that this communication has sometimes brought about better communication and engagement.

"This practice for some young people will be here to stay and any aspects of what has worked well during Covid will remain as good practice."