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System failing neglected children

A new report by children's charity, Action for Children, has found that over half (51%) of social workers, and a third of police officers (36%) feel 'powerless' to intervene in suspected cases of child neglect.

Social workers questioned felt that the point at which they could intervene in cases of child neglect was too high (42%) and for those children who did meet the level at which they could intervene, many cited a lack of resources (52%) or support services to refer families to (43%) as barriers to acting. The percentage of social workers who say they feel powerless to intervene in cases of child neglect has gone up by a third since 2009.

Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children, said, "Neglect corrodes childhoods, robbing the most vulnerable children of hope, happiness and life chances. All our findings point to the stark reality that neglected children and their parents are being identified, but neither the professionals nor the public feel empowered to help or intervene, particularly at the early stages.”

Action for Children is calling for:

  • The Government to help local areas improve data collection about the scale of neglect and the effectiveness of services.
  • The Government to co-ordinate local services in order to encourage parents and the public to act early on concerns of neglect.
  • The Government must increase children and families' access to effective early support services.


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