Radio Sandwell Local News

Children still unsafe in Birmingham, damning new report reveals

2014-10-13 17:35:32


Birmingham Council House

A catalogue of child protection failures left Birmingham youngsters at risk, a damning report has concluded.

The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board detailed a catalogue of problems concerning the police and social and health workers in the last financial year.

Its annual report said new plans were needed to protect children from sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based violence and trafficking.

And it revealed that 169 child deaths were investigated in the year from April 2013 to last March.

Serious case reviews were carried out into the deaths of three-year-old Dylan Crean, who was battered to death by his mother's boyfriend, and Keanu Williams, the two-year-old fatally injured by his mother.

An investigation was also launched into sexual abuse at Little Stars Nursery in Nechells.

The Board's independent chairman Jane Held said: "There were still significant numbers of children and young people who were not safe, not getting the support they needed or who were not known about or identified as at risk in the first place."

She listed a string of other issues including high health visitor case loads and a mistrust of the city council by schools.

The Board's members are from organisations with responsibility for services to children.

But the group was itself rated "inadequate" by Ofsted inspectors in May.

Its report will be presented to Birmingham Council’s cabinet on October 20.

City children's services boss Coun Brigid Jones said: "While the report looks back at issues we are already aware of - and that we have discussed publicly and at length - it rightly sets out the challenges all agencies face and how we must continue to work together better.

"As the report makes clear, we now know quite clearly what needs to be done.

"We have as a council a sustainable, long-term improvement plan.

“We still face challenges and we will have testing moments but we must not be blown off-course; we need to get on with making children safe and secure.”

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