Overall improvement masks serious shortcomings in child protection

The publication of this year’s performance assessment framework
indicators shows that fewer than four in 10 councils carried out
reviews as required of all their child protection cases during the

While overall there has been an improvement in performance for the
third consecutive year, the indicators reveal that still only 37
per cent of councils reviewed all their child protection cases on

The average of 93 per cent of cases being reviewed means that as
many as one in 14 children at risk did not have their case reviewed
when it should have been. Nine per cent of councils reviewed fewer
than 85 per cent of cases, and Northamptonshire managed just 31 per

However, the 2001-2 indicators reveal that the target for
re-registrations on the child protection register was successfully

Meanwhile, the percentage of looked-after children adopted rose
from 5.2 per cent in 2000-01 to 5.7 per cent in 2001-02, an
increase of around 350.

However the long-term stability of looked after children showed
little change, with 51 per cent of children looked after
continuously for at least four years staying with the same foster
carer for at least two years.

The educational attainment of care leavers is still well below
target, with just 41 per cent of young people leaving care at 16 or
over with at least one GCSE or GNVQ.

The National Priorities Guidance target states that at least 50 per
cent should achieve this by 2000-1 and 75 per cent by 2002-3. Brent
achieved just 16 per cent.

Four councils – Manchester, Somerset, Telford and the Wrekin, and
North Tyneside – failed to inspect all their children’s homes.

The 2001-2 indicators were fed into the refreshed star-ratings for
social services departments, also published last week.

– Social Services Performance Assessment Framework Indicators
, at www.doh.gov.uk/paf

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