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Bexley social services has surge of child referrals

PUBLISHED: 09:32 27 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:18 27 June 2011

Childrens councillor Katie Perrior said the council is responding to the surge by increasing resources to the frontline

Childrens councillor Katie Perrior said the council is responding to the surge by increasing resources to the frontline

Archant

The number of children subject to a child protection plan in Bexley is still on the rise after a surge in referrals following the publicity surrounding the Baby Peter case in autumn 2008.

There are currently 103 children from 43 families in Bexley in this category, said a report for the Children’s Services and Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting last week.

Eighty-seven children from 40 families are currently the subject of care proceedings.

Over the last two years the number of looked-after children in Bexley has been between 200 and 230.

Councillor Katie Perrior, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The council has responded to the increase in referrals to children’s social care and increase in children subject to a child protection plan by increasing resources to the frontline social work services.

“The council has prioritised these frontline social work services and they are not subject to reductions in the Strategy 2014 Business Cases. This reflects the increasing demand on these services.”

The report said the increase in children in care is part of national increase following the death of Baby Peter in Haringey and because the law now states councils have more of a duty to accommodate 16 to 17-year-olds who are homeless.

This comes after Professor Eileen Munro of the London School of Economics handed a report to government ministers with 15 recommendations for reshaping children’s services across the country.

The government are expected to comment on the recommendations before the House of Commons summer recess.

‘Targets’

The Bexley report reads: “The central tenet of the Munro review is a move to reshape the child protection system around the needs of individual children and young people.

“Professor Munro is clear that she feels that local authorities and their partners have become too focused on government targets and processes to the detriment of considering whether they are actually improving outcomes for children and families.”

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