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(UK) Yorks: ASD plans rise 400%; 'ever-rising demand'

May 31, 2024, BBC News: Autism care plans rise by nearly 400% since 2015

The number of under-25s with an autism care plan in North Yorkshire has risen by almost 400%, it has been revealed.

North Yorkshire Council said the significant increase had put the authority under "enormous pressure" to fund support for young people with special educational needs.

Autism is now the most common "primary need" in the county, a council report said.

It blamed a "spiralling" numbers of referrals and inadequate government funding for the situation.

'Backlogs and shortages


At a meeting this week, the council's executive member for children and families, councillor Janet Sanderson, said the authority was doing all it could to deliver services.

She was speaking after councillor Alyson Baker questioned whether the council had been “proactive rather than reactive” in response to the continuing rise in demand.

The report said North Yorkshire was below the national average for the "identification" of children with additional needs prior to 2014, when a new government code of practice was introduced.

Between 2020 and 2023, the number of plans being funded in the county rose by 43%, compared to a national rate of 33%.

Autism accounts for 39% of the plans in place in North Yorkshire - a 387% increase since 2015.

There have been improvements in council processing times for new assessments, with 45% completed within 20 weeks last year compared to only 14% in 2021, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

But there were challenges due to a backlog in gathering information about applicants and an acute shortage of educational psychologists in the area.

Earlier this year, the government announced £600m in extra funding to help councils meet demand for adult and children’s social care.

However, the council's children and young people's service director, Stuart Carlton, said that despite reviews and new ideas, the situation remained a concern.

He told the meeting: “We know what we need to do and we have plans for all of it. It’s always in that context of


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