The child protection departments of councils around the country are increasingly neglecting families in need, MPs have claimed.
Instead of intervening in the lives of problem familes at an early stage, reports the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children, cash-strapped local authorities are increasingly focusing solely on the most serious cases of neglect and abuse.
The finidng follows a year-long enquiry by the group. This included a survey of the directors of different children’s services departments. No less than 89 per cent admitted that they found it “increasingly difficult to fulfil their duties to children in need”.
In a report entitled No Good Options, the MPs also point to the detrimental effect of high staff turnover and social worker shortages, and a resulting over-reliance on agency workers. They found “wildly different” approaches, with different numbers of children being taken into care in different areas.
Committee co-chair Tim Loughton described the latter finding as “deeply worrying”.
The government must, he insisted, “focus on realistic resourcing of all children’s services, from prevention to early help for families, to care and child protection, and to look at ways to tackle the stark variation in standards across the country”.