THERE has been a 100 per cent rise in referrals to the council's early help team for people worried that a child is vulnerable or at risk of significant harm.

And caseloads for members of the team are at their safe limit of 28 children per practitioner, a City of York Council meeting heard.

"The impact of Covid on families cannot be underestimated," the council's assistant director for children's services said.

"The number of children, young people and families needing more targeted forms of early help support at a time when traditional support around families has changed significantly is huge.

"The impact of Covid on children and families is as yet unknown but indications are that this is high and will be long-lasting."

She said organisations had at first been worried about a drop in referrals at the start of lockdown - but there has been a "significant increase" since April.

Engagement with children and young people has "notably improved" during the pandemic, she added, as they like interacting virtually.