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    BROMLEY: Authorities face rise in children 'at risk'

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    Staff

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    Join date : 2009-04-18
    Location : Bromley

    BROMLEY: Authorities face rise in children 'at risk'

    Post  Staff on Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:41 am

    BROMLEY Council is re-examining how it looks after children following a rise in youngsters at risk of harm known to social services.

    At the end of March 2008, there were 140 children in the borough who were the subject of child protection plans.

    By the end of January 2009, this had risen to 184.

    Protection plans are put in place by the authorities for a child who is suffering, or is likely to suffer physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect.

    On top of those cases, Bromley Council’s Children in Need Team have 270 cases on its books, which look out for children who are considered to need support.

    Director of the council’s children and young people services, Gillian Pearson, said: “There has been a national increase in the numbers of children subject to child protection plans.

    “This is possibly a reflection of the Baby P case in Haringey and greater awareness among professionals and the public about safeguarding children.”

    Following the Baby P case, where a child died through cruelty in the home, councils across the country have been looking at their own procedures for looking after children at risk.

    Bromley Council is planning to create five temporary posts in the next few months in children’s services to help deal with the rapid increase in child protection work.

    Other steps include introducing a new system to monitor the way different agencies including the police handle cases and work together.

    Leader of the council’s Labour group, Councillor John Getgood, said: “Clearly good social care particularly for children is a high priority.

    “We need to be as convinced as we can be that children are being looked after.

    “I think awareness is much higher. In a sense we could be pleased that it’s higher but on the other hand it makes it more difficult to deal with.

    “But better to have one child too many on the system than one too few."

    BROMLEY’S BABY P If a child dies or is seriously injured, it triggers what is known as a Serious Case Review.

    The most recent case in Bromley involves a youngster also referred to as Baby P.

    Less than a year old, the child was found abandoned in a flat in November 2007.

    Fortunatly police took the baby to hospital and it survived.

    The mother was suffering from mental illness and her other three children had been taken into care before the birth of Baby P.

    Social services were aware she had previously been unwell but there was plan put in place to look out for the safety of the fourth child.

    The review made several recommendations for social and health services, as well as the police into ways procedures could be improved.

    Director of children’s services, Gillian Pearson, said: “Bromley regards child protection and safeguarding of children and young people as a very high priority.”

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