Doncaster Social Workers Report Rising Tide Of Abuse

DONCASTER social workers are facing a growing deluge of concerns that children are being abused or neglected, the Free Press can reveal.

In the 12 months up to the end of June, an average of more than 30 suspected abuse cases were being reported to social services every week.

Figures obtained by the Free Press using its powers under the Freedom of Information Act show that during 2007-2008 social services received 1,706 such ‘contacts’. This compares with 1491 in 2006/07, 1572 in 2005-2006 and 1,447 in 2004-2005.

Data prior to this period is unavailable because the council’s database system was only implemented four years ago.

The referrals were among hundreds of contacts a week – a total of 2,400 during a year – received by the council’s Duty and Assessment Service.
These related to a wide range of other issues such as family relationships, mental health difficulties and parental illness.

Meanwhile social services made 59 applications for Doncaster youngsters to be taken into care during 2008.

Care proceedings were started at least twice each month and a total of nine applications were made in both September and November. A further one application was for a supervision order.

And four emergency protection order applications have been made.
The figures are based on family groups and not individual children and do not include applications on contact, residence, secure accommodation, placement orders and proceedings taken over from other local authorities.

Cases have to meet the threshold criteria that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from, significant harm.

Government agency Cafcass, the body which safeguards children’s interests in court, has reported that the number of applications for children to be taken into care in England has risen sharply after the case of Baby P.