Abused Children ‘Still At Risk’

Some abused or neglected children in Edinburgh are being left in high-risk situations instead of being removed from their homes, inspectors have said.

A highly critical report by the education inspectorate – HMIE – has called for urgent action to reform the city’s child protection service.

It comes after the council’s social work department was criticised in 2003 in the wake of baby Caleb Ness’s death.

The city council has said things have improved, but more work is needed.

In its reported, HMIE also found the service was better now than it was four years ago.

In 2001, 11-week-old Caleb was killed by his father, despite being the subject of child protection procedures.

A report into the death extensively criticised the protection arrangements for Caleb and “identified fault at almost every level in every agency involved”.

The council then ordered a review of more than 300 child protection cases.

It said that an action plan had been put in place to address issues raised by the review.

However, the latest report reveals some children still do not get help quickly enough and were sometimes left at serious risk.

It said policies and vision appear to be there on paper but they do not seem to have been put into effect.

Older children in particular haven not always received help until concerns about them have escalated, according to the report.

Inspectors also found the service for children moving from one part of the city to another has been disorganised.

The report claimed it was not uncommon for families to have frequent changes of social worker.

The council’s director of education and children’s services has retired since the inspection in February.

Council leaders have praised the work of staff but said improvements have begun and more will follow.