Too Many Essex Youngsters Still At-Risk

19 February 2010, 06:44 | Updated: 19 February 2010, 06:47

The number of at-risk Essex youngsters being put on child protection plans has gone up by a third.

In addition to this more than 10% of those at-risk children end up back on a child protection plan, shortly after being taken off one.

The plans are designed to assess the likelihood of a child suffering harm and look at ways that the child can be protected.

Nikki Pace from Essex County Council explained what a child protection plan involves: "(It) may be an expectation around school attendance or nursery attendance, possibly regular drug testing for parents, those sorts of things will be part of that plan to make sure that child is well monitored and seen regularly."

But these plans don't seem to be working in 1 in 10 cases in out county.  It's meant 70 at-risk children in Essex have been put back on child protection plans when social services have previously decided it was ok to take them off one.

The re-referrals are something Essex County Council say they're planning to improve because they should be getting it right the first time.

But the council's Nikki Pace told Heart although they also want to see that 10% figure go down too, they have already managed to halve the number of re-referrals; back in 2008 1 in 3 families were being re-referred. "We need to see what went wrong the first time, what happened, and obviously we'd need to look at each particular circumstance.  It may be that a new partner has moved into the family, or circumstances have changed that have caused that re-referral

"Schools and health visitors and other professions are regularly involved with the family, even if social care aren't, and they;re vigilant and will re-refer if they think there are concerns about a child."