Council left children at risk, inspectors find

Inspectors have condemned Anglesey children's services for leaving children at potential risk, poor assessments and long delays in children in need cases.

Inspectors have condemned Anglesey children’s services for leaving children at potential risk, poor assessments and long delays in children in need cases.

Department heads had also failed to address poor performance or low staff morale over five years.

The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) said it had only inspected the Isle of Anglesey’s assessment and care management of children in need but there was enough evidence of serious safeguarding failings to merit another inspection.

It highlighted the case of a six-year-old girl whose mother was drunk while caring for her. The inspectorate said the initial and core assessments reflected only the mother’s views but presented them as statements of fact. The case was closed before the police had finished their investigation and the fact that the mother had a 12-month probation order for neglect was overlooked.

Some complex cases had also been allocated to student social workers and, in 2010, a number of practitioners were handling more than 60 cases. After council intervention, the highest number of cases a social worker was carrying in January this year was 35, the report said.

Police had expressed their concerns about Anglesey’s children’s services. A report from the police to the local safeguarding children board highlighted eight cases of concern, including a young infant who sustained life threatening, non-accidental injuries in March 2010. An interim care order was not obtained until October.

The report recommended a review of child protection thresholds, better assessments and analysis of risks to children. It also recommended that individuals and teams needed specific, measurable, realistic and stretching targets. The council needed to provide enough resources and capacities to deliver the improvements needed.

Anglesey’s director of housing and social services, T Gwyn Jones, said changes had already been made. “These include ensuring greater capacity within the service; closely monitoring performance improvements and improving quality assurance systems through rigorous audit.”

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