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Children's services in a London borough are facing a major challenge due to an alarming increase in violent knife crime, but are starting to deal with the problem more effectively, Ofsted has said.

Crisis support schemes run by local authorities are failing to operate effectively with increasing numbers of families turning instead to food banks and other voluntary agencies for help, a report has found.

The Department for Education is looking to boost support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by overhauling the way they are assessed in schools.

Councils should invest more money in upgrading technology and appoint dedicated administrators so children's social workers can spend more time supporting families, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has said.

A total of £4.5m has been set aside for councils to establish initiatives to support children of alcoholics and dependent drinkers, it has been announced.

Support for care leavers must be improved and the process for receiving benefits simplified to ensure they do not become homeless or have to share accommodation with troubled adults, a report by a government advisory body has concluded.

A council has been praised by inspectors for averting a decline in the performance of its children's services due to rising demand and budget cuts.

Children's services in Darlington have risen from "inadequate" to "requires improvement" after Ofsted inspectors found "considerable" progress at the local authority.

A government-commissioned study has concluded that children should continue to receive dual representation during care proceedings, despite increasing demands on resources.

The chief executive of an organisation that runs children's services across three local authority areas is to retire, it has been announced.