Social services referrals on the rise

SUFFOLK: Numbers of children referred to social services have increased dramatically as the county steps up its vigilance following the death of Baby P.

SUFFOLK: Numbers of children referred to social services have increased dramatically as the county steps up its vigilance following the death of Baby P.

Last year, 7,000 children were seen by officers - a rise of 700 - and between April 1 and September 30 this year, the county council has already assessed 7,832 youngsters.

Police referrals account for most of the increase following domestic incidents or children going missing, while schools seek help over concerns about possible neglect and family disruption.

Suffolk also approved 65 new foster carers last year, bringing the total in the county to 397. A recruiting campaign was launched in September with aim of attracting 50 more carers.


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Simon White, director of children and young people, said Suffolk has placed an increased emphasis on identifying and assessing the impact of emotional harm resulting from domestic abuse, the primary cause in the increase in referrals from the police and child agencies.

Mr White said: “Neglect remains the highest category and accounts for 60 per cent of referrals, mainly linked to drug and alcohol abuse by parents.

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“Physical abuse fell to 30 children which is the lowest it has ever been and sexual abuse at 18 children remains a low figure.”

But Suffolk still continues to have a relatively high number of children in care at 738.

The county council's �3.8million recruiting drive launched earlier this year has resulted in an extra 34 social workers, 20 family support practitioners, and 12 support staff - but 21 social workers quit between April and September as a result of either promotion or a move to other councils.

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