40,000 NI chil­dren re­ferred to so­cial ser­vices in just one year

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY ADRIAN RUTHER­FORD

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.