Vulnerable children at record level in Fife

Child protection services in Fife face an “unprecedented” challenge, with a record number of vulnerable youngsters now in care and a desperate need to cut costs.

Dougie Dunlop, head of Fife Council’s children and family services, said the task facing social workers is “not insurmountable” despite the department’s projected £4.5 million overspend.

There are a record 850 vulnerable children in Fife in the care system and 200 youngsters on the child protection register.

Mr Dunlop said the social work department, staff remain 100% committed to protecting every single at-risk child in the region and help find them loving homes.

“Money is not the starting point,” he said.

“It is the welfare of the child which is at the heart of all we do. We are taking a two- pronged approach to deal with this.

“Firstly, over the next three years we will be investing £7.8m into our early years service where we will continue our commitment to work with partners such as health and police to build on the proactive approach to reach children as quickly as possible to limit the effects of neglect and abuse.

“Secondly, we will continue to strengthen our care planning where our aim is to move a child into a permanent place to stay, either with their own family or an adopter, as early as possible, always with what is right for the child as the priority.”