Services for children across Kent are no longer inadequate, it’s been revealed.
It follows a damning Ofsted report in 2010, which concluded services for vulnerable children were inadequate in virtually every area.
Kent County Council's children's services are improving
That prompted a public apology from key council members.
The council was then issued with a formal improvement notice by Ofsted - ordering it to improve care for the county’s most vulnerable youngsters within a year.
Now, three years after it was placed, the Children’s Minister has lifted the Improvement Notice.
Edward Timpson praised the progress made by the department, which has achieved much-improved Ofsted reports in all three areas of the service in the past year.
A statement issued today by KCC said a "determined improvement programme was put in place which has achieved significant results".
Councillors are due to vote on the annual budget at County Hall in Maidstone
Jenny Whittle, KCC cabinet member for specialist children’s services, said: “This is great news and I would like to thank all staff for their hard work and determination.
"We have already received endorsement from Ofsted for the work we have done so far and the lifting of the improvement notice is the next step.
"However, we are not complacent and we remain totally focussed on continuing these improvements, which we hope will eventually result in an outstanding service for Kent’s children."
"We have already received endorsement from Ofsted for the work we have done so far and the lifting of the improvement notice is the next step" - Jenny Whittle
She said a key challenge had been to reduce the number of agency workers and increase the number of social workers on permanent contracts.
Since September, 48 newly-qualified social workers have started in Kent, with more set to join in the new year.
Ofsted reports into the areas of safeguarding, children in care and adoption all judged the service to be ‘adequate’, with important areas of ‘good’ practice.
Mairead MacNeil, KCC director of specialist children’s services, said: “This is a significant turning point for us but we will not lose the momentum we have built up.
"Everyone in the service is ambitious for the children in our care and this achievement is down to the dedication of staff from management to the frontline."