Research from 114 councils shows referrals for over 115,000 children in a year. Over 150,00 born between 2009-2010 were referred by the age of 5.
The report shows that social workers are under pressure to follow up all referrals to make sure they don't miss any child at risk, but that this can lead to them following unnecessary referrals making it harder to find those who really are at risk.
One in five of all children born in a single year in England was referred to social services before they reached age five, research suggests. A study of children born in 2009-10 suggests up to 150,000 pre-school children were reported over fears of abuse or neglect, most unnecessarily. Only 25% of referrals were formally investigated while 10% led to protection plans, the study said.