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One star rating for social services

PUBLISHED: 00:54 31 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK social care services has been given a one star rating today which has not surprised one mother who has a daughter in care.

She handed her tearaway 12-year-old daughter to the care of Social Services in February but now regrets ever taking that decision.

SUFFOLK social care services has been given a one star rating today which has not surprised one mother who has a daughter in care.

She handed her tearaway 12-year-old daughter to the care of Social Services in February but now regrets ever taking that decision.

Around £200million of government and tax payers money is poured into the whole of the Social Services department every year but they have still been given a 'could do better' rating.

The results from the Department of Health report showed that Social care services had been failing some people and just one star had been given out of a rating that ranged from zero to three.

Although the future has been described as 'promising' in the report with major improvements on the way, Janet Sims (not her real name) said the situation with her young daughter is getting worse.

Janet decided to sign her 12-year-old daughter over to the care of social services in February.

Her plight was highlighted in the Evening Star in April as the youngster had run away 13 times in a week, was found paralytically drunk, sleeps with strangers and is also into drugs.

By signing her into the care of the County, Janet thought this might improve her daughter's behaviour but things have gone from bad to worse.

She said: "I regret what I have done – If I had known then what I know now, I would have tried other avenues."

Suffolk was one of 82 counties in the country to be given a one star rating.

Just eight counties were awarded the top three star rating, 50 were given two stars and 10 were not worthy of any stars at all.

Terry Green, member of Suffolk county council's executive committee said the results had been expected and vowed that there would be improvements.

He said the social services had experienced problems earlier last year with pressures on hospitals needing to get more people through the system and out of ward beds.

"At the time there was not enough money to do anything about that but extra funding has helped us.

"I am pleased with the rating and the staff have done well to achieve it," he said.

Following the publication of today's ratings for 2001/02 Mr Green vowed that the council would become one of the best in the country.

A long list of hoped for improvements has been issued which includes the appointment of a new Director of Social Care, and the largest budget increase ever to meet the demand for services.

More than £17million (before inflation and specific grants) is being ploughed into the system, £5million more than last year and an overseas recruitment drive is being used to boost the number of social workers.

Family support services have also made it on to the list to be strengthened and bed blocking situations are also being tackled.

Chris Lane, social care and communications manager said that improvements are being made to childrens services and that they been inspected and assessed several times over the last two years and that the star ratings reflected the situation a year ago.

He said:"We have been found to provide a safe service, with great prospects for improvement.

"There are many very good quality aspects to what we offer children, for example we are complimented on the stability of children in foster care.

"There have been real pressures, mainly due to social worker vacancies being too high, this has now been corrected.

"In dealing with family situations, there is very often a parent or relative who feels unsatisfied, but social care professionals have to take a balanced decision, within the law and our resources."


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