Services for children in care in the Medway region of Kent are “inadequate”, inspectors Ofsted have declared.
There were “deficits” in services within the unitary authority, said the report, and outcomes for children were “poor”.
Following a previous inspection in January, Medway Council had begun changes to ensure the safety of vulnerable children.
“However, many changes have been recent and have not yet had the opportunity to impact, so deficits within services for looked-after children remain.”
The inspectors added:
“Overall, outcomes for children and young people looked after are poor in relation to their emotional health and wellbeing, their educational achievement and continued opportunities for education, employment and training.”
There was a shortage of nurses, said Ofsted, and health assessment were sometimes delayed. However, no children were at immediate risk of harm and the Council was “actively addressing inadequacies”.
In July this year, there were 400 children in care within the region, as well 209 designated care leavers.
Councillor Mike O’Brien, who holds responsibility for children’s services, stressed that the council was making “significant progress” and actively recruiting new staff and social workers.
But rival Labour councillor Adam Price said:
“I’m deeply worried. We’re hearing that no child is under immediate risk, but it is worrying that there seems to be poor quality in terms of information on children when they come into care and also go out of care.”
Some new social workers could be hired from as far away as Ireland, he claimed.