40,000 NI children referred to social services in just one year
ALMOST 40,000 children in Northern Ireland were referred to social services in the last year.
More than 2,000 were so at risk they were listed on the child protection register, statistics from the Department of Health revealed.
A charity has now called for more resources to address vulnerable children.
The NSPCC said: “These figures show that social workers are having to deal with tens of thousands of vulnerable children in Northern Ireland each year with more than 2,000 of these young people judged to be so at risk of harm that they are on the child protection register.
“Back in 2011 we estimated that for every child on a protection plan, another eight are experiencing maltreatment but are not known to the system.
“The scale of these child protection challenges mean it is absolutely vital that adequate resources are in place to support these children and keep them safe.
“Early tailored support for families who are struggling must also be available to prevent them reaching crisis point.”
The Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI 2016/17 bulletin, released yesterday, showed that in the 12 months to April, 37,618 children were referred to social services.
The largest proportion of referrals were made by the police (29%).
As of March 31, 2,132 children were listed on the child protection register, with neglect and physical abuse the main reasons for a child being listed.