Children’s social care referrals in Barnsley rise by 25 percent

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The number of children referred to social services rose by 25 per cent in one month, new figures show.

A monthly report into children’s social care at Barnsley council shows that 383 referrals were made in June 2021, compared to 285 during the previous month.

The number of looked after children reached 336 in June, increasing from 325 in May.

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The Barnsley Local Safeguarding Children Partnership, the organisation responsible for agreeing how services protect welfare of youngsters in the borough, say that Covid-19 lockdowns had ” impacted upon all agencies and staff working with children and families, service delivery, and on the wellbeing and safety of many children and families”.

Barnsley Town Hall.Barnsley Town Hall.
Barnsley Town Hall.

A report states that lockdowns caused “increased concerns” about “hidden harm” for vulnerable youngsters, due to reduced schools’ attendance, fewer contacts with professionals, and disruption to children’s education.

The partnership say they “worked closely” with schools in the borough, and developed a tracker system to support vulnerable children and families to access help.

Councillor Trevor Cave, cabinet spokesperson for children’s services, said that the council had managed the rise in demand “well”, adding that the service had employed an addition 12 social workers.

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Councillor Cave added: “The COVID-19 pandemic and series of national lockdowns created unprecedented challenges for us all, including families, as well as all agencies and staff working with children and families.

“Children and young people have experienced significant disruption, with reduced school attendance and contact with professionals, and this will have impacted on some, more vulnerable families.

“We know that there has been a national rise in demand to Children’s Social Care, which has also been experienced locally.

“Barnsley Children’s Services have managed this demand well, drawing on the experience within our existing service, as well as investing in 12 additional social workers and two team managers until 2023 in responding to increased demand. We’ve also been working closely with the wider children’s partnership to strengthen early help.

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“Our social workers and our early help teams are working hard to continue our timely response rates to make sure we meet the needs of vulnerable young people and those families in need of help and support.”

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