Kids’ crisis - Hundreds left with no social worker

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The councillor responsible for the care of Calderdale’s vulnerable children has admitted hundreds were left without an allocated social worker in 2010.

To reassure the public about safeguarding children, Megan Swift, lead member of the children’s social care department for the past five months, said: “Children in Calderdale are safer than they were 18 months ago – but that is not enough.

“Now every child who is subject to a child protection plan, or who is looked after, or is otherwise of concern, has a social worker allocated to them.

“This is absolutely fundamental and was absolutely not the case in February 2010, when there were literally hundreds of cases with no allocated social workers.”

“I want people to be clear about the improvements that have been made in the past 18 months, and the challenges that remain to be tackled. All councillors have a responsibility for safeguarding looked-after children.”

Councillor Swift said the Ofsted inspection into safeguarding in February 2010 found very major shortcomings.

“The scrutiny panel had before it a report setting out clearly the areas where dramatic improvements had taken place, and those where more work needs to be done.

Councillor Swift (Lab, Town) said colleagues from other Councils – including councillors and social care professionals were asked in September find out what was going well and what still needed to improve.

“The results of this peer review will be reported to the Improvement Board on Tuesday and details of their findings will be released – together with information on how we are already acting on them.

“Finally, I want to clear up any misunderstanding about Ofsted’s recent Annual Performance Letter which rated Calderdale’s performance as poor.

“This is not based on any new inspection, but reflects the findings of the inspection in 2010 and the Improvement Notice process: Calderdale’s rating will not change until there is a further, full, unannounced assessment of children’s safeguarding,” said Coun Swift.