Coun­cil fail­ing to act quickly over at risk chil­dren

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

The let­ter says: “In­spec­tors noted re­cent im­prove­ments, par­tic­u­larly in the few weeks prior to the visit.

“How­ever, some changes have taken too long to achieve. Chil­dren con­tinue to re­ceive an in­con­sis­tent re­sponse to their needs and, for some, po­ten­tial risks are not ex­plored quickly enough.”

It adds: “In­spec­tors found that some chil­dren whose cir­cum­stances war­rant a so­cial work as­sess­ment are stepped down to early help.

“Oth­ers are passed to the area teams for as­sess­ment when, in fact, the risk of sig­nif­i­cant harm should prompt a strat­egy meet­ing.

“This leaves these chil­dren in sit­u­a­tions in which they are not as­sessed, helped or pro­tected quickly enough.”

Cllr Chris Bot­ten, Lib­eral Demo­crat spokesman on chil­dren and schools, said: “Although the county coun­cil has clearly im­proved its ser­vices to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren since the in­ad­e­quate Of­sted in­spec­tion re­port in 2015, much re­mains to be done.

“The de­lays in as­sess­ing, help­ing and pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren have to be tack­led so that chil­dren re­ceive the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port when needed.

“In re­la­tion to miss­ing chil­dren more ro­bust pro­cesses are re­quired and the risks fac­ing these chil­dren ad­dressed.

“More needs to be done to pro­vide early help to chil­dren ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems to help pre­vent them reach­ing cri­sis point.

“I shall be press­ing the county coun­cil to make the nec­es­sary im­prove­ments as quickly as pos­si­ble so that vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren re­ceive the sup­port and pro­tec­tion that they need.”

A Sur­rey County Coun­cil spokesman said: “Of­sted has recognised im­prove­ments we’ve made but we know there is more to do and ev­ery­one in­volved is work­ing hard to en­sure that our sup­port for chil­dren and young peo­ple who need our help is as good as it can pos­si­bly be in­clud­ing through the work of the multi-agency safe­guard­ing hub.”

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