"Manifestly and palpably weak" leadership and a high turnover of directors are undermining efforts to improve children's services in England, says Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw.
There are 20 local authorities rated as inadequate for protecting children.
Sir Michael branded Birmingham as an example of bad practice, which he called a "national disgrace".
He suggested the local authority might need to be broken up.
Sir Michael also called for a wider recognition of the impact of children's home environments, such as irresponsible and alcohol-dependent parents and living on streets lined with betting shops and fast-food shops.
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