Social services staff helpline for parents distressed by deaths of Holly and Jessica

A helpline staffed by social workers and educational
psychologists has been set up by Cambridgeshire council to deal
with calls from distressed parents following the deaths of Jessica
Chapman and Holly Wells, writes Sally

The group of 15 professionals are working shifts offering
counselling to parents and teachers on how to cope with the shock
of the deaths, and giving advice on how to break the news to their
own children.

The counselling service, which was set up the day after the
bodies of the 10-year-olds were discovered by ramblers, dealt with
more than 100 calls on its first morning.

A spokesperson for the council said the helpline would continue
for as long as necessary.

He added that like many local authorities around the country
Cambridgeshire had high vacancy rates in its social services
department, and having staff concentrating on the helpline had
“inevitably been a strain”.

But he said that neighbouring councils, such as Suffolk, had
offered the services of their staff to relieve the pressure.

“The staff are doing a great job and we have been shown great
support from nearby local authorities,” he said.

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