Crisis looming in child protection services

PUBLISHED: 03:07 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:18 24 May 2010

CHILD protection services are nearing crisis point in Weston - according to a North Somerset Council report. The eight North Somerset councillors who make up the authority's Children's Champions Group, put the document containing the claims before the Chi

CHILD protection services are nearing crisis point in Weston - according to a North Somerset Council report.The eight North Somerset councillors who make up the authority's Children's Champions Group, put the document containing the claims before the Children and Young People Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel last Thursday night.Services provided by North Somerset's child protection team include applying for emergency protection orders and safeguarding children and young people who are at immediate risk of harm.In the report it states the group noticed that: "Two thirds of child protection cases were in the Weston area where there were staff shortages in the respective case holding team" and that it was "alarmed that officers considered the situation to be just marginally better than when the team was in crisis three years ago."The councillors, who each work with a different scrutiny panel to assess the impact of council actions on children, also said "the capacity to deliver services had become fragile" and the best way to solve the problem was to recruit more staff.Group chairman and panel vice-chairman, Councillor Tom Leimdorfer, admitted: "As you can imagine this area of work is stressful. There is a high turn over of staff and you only need a few off and there is a problem. Team managers are working hard to make sure children are safe but the volume of administration has increased so much that a lot of time goes on paperwork."In order to make sure child protection cases have an effective outcome there should be more social worker assistants to do the paperwork and do other things like make phone calls to arrange appointments. Then it will take the pressure off the social workers who can then spend more time seeing children and families. More resources are needed.

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