`

Rising number of child protection plans in Calderdale

Children subject to child protestion plans is on the rise in Calderdale
Children subject to child protestion plans is on the rise in Calderdale

More children in Calderdale are subject to child protection plans than the national or regional average.

As of the final quarter of the Calderdale Council year 2017-18, which ended in April, there were 257 children subject to child protestion plans.

With an under 18 population of 46,097 that gave a rate of 55.8 per 10,000.

The latest data to compare with national, regional and statistically similar neighbouring authorities is from March 2017 when the rate was 54.3 per 10,000, members of the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board heard.

Children are put on child protection plans following a child protection conference deciding the child is suffering, or likely to suffer from, harm.

The report to councillors said there had been an upward trend in the last two years.

But while Calderdale’s rate is high, very few children were on a plan for more than two years and the rate of children looked after was in line with comparator councils, giving assurance the level of children on a plan was appropriate.

Plans which have lasted for six months or less will be audited to see if alternate measures could have been taken instead, says the report.

Calderdale’s Domestic Abuse hub, which opened two and a half years ago, has been effective in identifying children at risk from domestic violence and there had been an increase in referrals to childen’s services since the first quarter of council year 2017-18 which had further increased the number of children on plans.

More work needs to take place to understand how effective early intervention services are, the report adds.

It also pointed out many voluntary sector organisations which played their part in helping families were operating on reduced resources and waiting times for both Locality family support services and Home Start services were increasing.