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Urgent review of 7,000 child cases in Kent

Kent County Council logo
Kent County Council logo

by political editor Paul Francis

Social services chiefs are carrying out an urgent review of 7,000 cases involving children potentially at risk after a damning report into the care of vulnerable youngsters.

The review is one of the steps Kent County Council has taken following a critical Ofsted report that labelled services for looked after children inadequate in virtually every area.

It will be completed by Christmas and is aimed at ensuring that children who have been referred to social services are being properly safeguarded where they need to be.

A sample of the 7,000 "live" cases on social workers’ books will then be scrutinised and audited to ensure the review has been conducted properly.

KCC is also re-examining reviews and assessments of children that are already in its care and on the child protection register.

Ofsted’s critical report found that in half of the cases it examined as part of its inspection, there were significant concerns about the care children were getting and in the worst of those, children were left unprotected and at risk of significant harm.

It has also emerged that KCC will appoint external advisers to help improve services for children at risk after Ofsted said the authority lacked the capacity to improve.

KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter said the review was not just a tick-box exercise.

Speaking at a meeting of KCC’s cabinet which considered Ofsted’s findings, he said: "It is to make sure that the activities that should be taking place are taking place."

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

He repeated a vow to turn around the service within a year.

"I am determined that within a year, we will have delivered substantial improvements."

Children’s services chief Rosalind Turner insisted staff were not demoralised by the critical report.

"This is a service that has been under pressure for some time. We are in a much better place to deliver the recovery programme given that morale is quite good."

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