Council review finds flaws in cases of 500 children

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Kent Council has discovered problems in the cases of more than 500 at-risk children following a council-led review of the department.

Kent initiated an internal review following an inadequate Ofsted rating in November, which brought with it the threat of a government improvement notice.

While the notice has not yet been issued, a council spokesman said it was expected at some point this month.

Concerns were raised in 541 cases, 9% of the total number reviewed by the council so far. By the end of this month, the council will review the remaining 17% of cases, 1,185.

However, the council spokesman emphasised that this did not mean 541 children were at risk.

“Eight per cent of the cases looked into so far had an item flagged up,” he said. “Some reports have said this means over 500 children were at risk, but this is not the case. We readily admit that there were shortcomings in these cases that should not have existed, but many of them were in the nature of a child not having a personal education plan, for instance, which does not put a child in danger.”

Key themes identified in the council’s review included drift in care planning, delay in management decisions, delays in convening final strategy meetings after child protection investigations, and a lack of focus in work with vulnerable teenagers.

Other problems were found in the quality of assessments and health assessments not being in place for looked-after children.

Kent has already put in place an improvement steering group, which will be integrated into the overall improvement plan once an improvement board is put in place later this month.

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