Children’s Services dealing with more than 400 cases of neglect

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CHILDREN’S Services are dealing with more than 400 cases of potential child neglect at any one time, the independent chairwoman of Safeguarding Partnership Board has revealed.

Sarah Elliott added that around 10% of the cases related to more serious concerns where a ‘child protection plan’ was in place.

She unveiled a new campaign this week aimed at stepping up the detection of the problem, adding that a single call to report suspected neglect could make ‘all the difference’ to a child’s life’.

The programme has a two-pronged approach with enhanced training and a ‘toolkit’ on how to spot warning signs being offered to staff of agencies working with children as well as a publicity campaign which urges Islanders to come forward if they have concerns about a particular child.

Appealing to the public for their help, she said: ‘Islanders can really play an important role here because they can sometimes spot those early signs. It might be perhaps that they always see a child that seems to be hungry, perhaps looks very sad or do not seem to be dressed appropriately for the weather at the moment, and they might be very aware of that at the moment with the cold snap that we are having.

‘Or perhaps they are worried that a young child is left at home alone or might be seen playing regularly in the streets in an unsupervised way where there is lots of traffic,’ she said.

‘We would urge the public to pick up the phone and speak to the Children and Families Hub, that’s 519000. They will treat that information very sensitively and it is all about putting a supportive approach across to those parents and making sure they get that help at an early point to make sure they get back on track if they are really struggling with their parenting. That will keep that child safe,’ she added.

Ms Elliott acknowledged that some Islanders may be apprehensive about reporting possible child neglect but tried to give reassurance, adding that they could do so confidentially.

She said: ‘Children’s Services will need to take some information from the person that is contacting them but if that person wants to remain anonymous they can do. It will not make a difference to how that support is put in.

‘That call from a member of the public could potentially make all the difference to that child’s life. So we would ask people to try and overcome that concern and I would want to reassure them that it [the report] would be taken very seriously and would be handled very sensitively.’

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