Council acts after child care failures

Council acts after child care failures

COUNCIL chiefs held their hands up to blunders in the referral of vulnerable children to social workers.

An internal review found 22 cases where youngsters were not seen within the time limit of 45 days.

Those affected were from across Kirklees and had been referred to the safeguarding children service over the last two years.

Cases included those at risk from domestic violence or where a parent is an alcoholic or drug addict.

Officials insist follow-ups showed no children had come to harm – but they have brought in a new management structure.

The authority came forward to avoid the perception of a Rotherham-type situation.

Coun Erin Hill (Lab, pictured), cabinet member for family support and protection, said she would not allow a “cover-up”.

She added: “This is different from Rotherham in that we picked this up ourselves and wish to be as transparent as we can be.”

The review was launched to see where the service was in the wake of losing two senior directors.

It found that some social workers had either very high workloads or a series of extremely complex cases.

As a result some got lost in the paper shuffle, which required a re-think of how cases are managed.

These are now spread out more, with social workers given clearer instructions about national guidelines.

And a new management group led by council chief executive Adrian Lythgo has been formed.

Coun Hill said: “We picked these problems up as part of action taken to reassure ourselves in that you need to be as self-aware as possible.

“I want to reassure the public we got on top of the situation and that no children were harmed.”

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