Day-in, day-out, thousands of dedicated staff are working successfully with hundreds of thousands of the most troubled and troubling children, and that should not be overlooked.
The 20 cases outlined by the Centre for Social Justice, whilst damning, must not be taken as an indicator of widespread failure.
The challenges facing children’s social care are more acute than ever before especially in a climate of diminishing resources and increasing demand.
In the last year alone, over half a million children in England were referred to children’s social care with nearly 53,000 children becoming subject of a child protection plan and in excess of 375,000 children designated as children in need.
Local authorities work hard to meet the needs of each child they come into contact with and this will sometimes mean referrals to services other than children’s social care.
It is not the case that a child or family that does not meet the statutory threshold for intervention is simply sent away without any further help. Every child will have different needs and those needs could be met by a wide range of services provided by local authorities and their statutory partners.
Partners including schools, GPs, hospitals, nurseries, the police and probation as well as the community have a role to play to ensure that families get the help they need, before they reach the threshold for intervention by children’s social care.
They also have an active role to play in helping local authorities cope with the demand for services from at-risk families.
We agree with the Centre for Social Justice that there is much more to be done around access to high-quality mental health provision for children and young people.
ADCS members are actively working in their own local authorities and with the government via the Children’s Health and Wellbeing Partnership to ensure that children and families get the right support to meet their needs at the right time.