More Social Workers For Kids At Risk In North Somerset

Extra social workers are being drafted into North Somerset to cope with the spiralling number of children at risk of abuse.

North Somerset has earmarked a further £150,000 to pay for four extra social workers to ensure high-risk child protection cases are fully investigated and assessed.

The cash is being found despite the council facing £12.5 million of budget cuts in the coming financial year.

The move follows an increase in the demand for social workers in cases of children at risk of child abuse and who have come into the care of the local authority over the past five years.

A report to the council says there are a considerable number of cases where there are serious child protection concerns but no social worker allocated to deal with the issues.

Cases include children at risk from paedophiles, sexual, mental and physical abuse and where children are exposed to drugs because their parents are users.

Currently there are 103 children across North Somerset on the “at risk” register and more than 170 young people are in the care of the local authority.

The council hopes the appointment of the new staff will see a drop in the numbers of children going into care across the district.

North Somerset executive member for Children and Young People’s Services Jeremy Blatchford said: “As a result of changes in legislation and operational practices we are funding more and more children who are at risk of abuse.

“These numbers of children at risk has increased considerably over the past five years.

“At the moment there are cases without social workers support.

“We hope by recruiting more social work staff that no family where there is a child at risk will be left without adequate support.”

A decision on the extra funding is due to be considered later this month.