Cabinet: Number of Redbridge children under protection against abuse and neglect rises

The number of Redbridge children under protection against neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse has been rising in the last five years to a high of 189.

According to a report approved at last night’s cabinet meeting at Redbridge Town Hall in High Road, Ilford, most children registered between April 2011 and March 2012 were under 10 years old and 13 were under protection before being born.

Most were thought to be at risk of neglect or emotional abuse, but 17 were being protected from physical abuse and two from sexual abuse.

Protection plans are put in place when a child is being harmed or at risk of being harmed.

Children are assigned workers and undergo regular checks, while goals are set for families and carers to ensure their safety.

More than 3,000 child cases were referred to social workers in 2011/12.

The 3,435 assessments were up by 2,000 compared to 2007/08.

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The report said the increase was due to improved screening and contacts allowing 93 per cent of cases to be assessed, compared to only 24 per cent in 2007/08.

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince praised the work by children’s agencies in Redbridge at the meeting.

He said recent inspections had found children’s services in the borough including safeguarding and fostering to be “adequate” or better.

He added: “I think it’s very important in the wake of the Munro Review that we work to increase the amount of time workers spend with each child.”

The 2012 review recommended that protection services become more “child-centred” instead of focusing on targets and regulations.

Redbridge social workers currently deal with an average of 13.5 children each.

Cllr Prince said the workload was “acceptable”.

The council is responsible for providing social care and child protection services in the borough.