Home   Kent   News   Article

KCC is STILL failing our vulnerable children

Child abuse. Picture posed by a model
Child abuse. Picture posed by a model

Kent County Council still hasn't assessed nearly 400 files involving vulnerable children - even after being rocked by a wide-ranging child protection scandal, it emerged today.

Malcolm Newsam, KCC’s social services chief, has also warned the authority may continue to uncover shortcomings in the way it has handled child protection cases dating back several years.

Interim director of families Mr Newsam told county councillors that while significant progress had been made tackling a backlog of 2,700 cases where children had not been assigned a social worker, 387 case files had yet to be re-examined and assessed.

"We have made very significant progress in reducing outstanding assessments... there are 387 unallocated cases that still present a significant risk to the council," he said.

KCC should be prepared for other cases involving vulnerable children where care had been inadequate to come out, he added.

"There are still major risks. Poor practice has a very long tail. As we fix things today, what will come out are things that went wrong in 2007, 2008 and 2009 - that will carry on for some time to come.

"Never believe that you can fix things and everything will be alright. Climbing up takes a lot longer than slipping down."

A former county councillor in charge of social services says KCC must be wary of "temporary solutions".

The council has drafted in a 30-strong team of senior social workers to sift through outstanding case files in the wake of a damning Ofsted report.

Cllr Keith Ferrin (Con) said: "We must be careful that the temporary solution we have now is where the answer lies.

"The answer lies in permanent appointments of staff who are going to have to live with the decisions they take."

Cllr Jenny Whittle, (Con), KCC cabinet member for specialist children’s services, said the backlog would come down as the team recruited to assess them.

"I suspect many of these cases will be closed down pretty swiftly but you just do not know. I cannot guess what is in those cases," she said.

KCC was ordered to improve its services for children at risk last year after a damning Ofsted report said they were inadequate in almost every area.

Since then, it has emerged that 2,700 cases referred to KCC had not been allocated a social worker.

However, that has been dramatically reduced.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More