Hundreds of children in Leeds have been deemed as ‘at risk’ by social workers – with SEVEN of those listed not even born.
Figures obtained by the YEP revealed that 1,161 youngsters in Leeds were thought to be at risk of neglect, sexual abuse or physical harm in the space of just one year.
Social workers were so worried about their welfare they decided to subject them to Child Protection Plans (CPPs) for their own safety. Seven of those youngsters were still in the womb when they were put on the plans last year.
Youngsters who are the subject of CPPs are monitored by social workers to ensure they are not at risk in their own homes. In the most serious of cases if abuse is proved it can lead to court proceedings that could see the child taken into care.
Statistics from the Department for Education show 1,161 children were subject to CPPs during 2011 and 2012 – which is the third highest rate in England behind Kent and Birmingham.
Over 150 of those youngsters then became subject to a plan for a second or subsequent time.
Currently this year there are 877 children and young people on the plans – this figure includes three unborn babies in Leeds.
Steve Walker, deputy director for children’s services, said: “In Leeds, we are committed to achieving good outcomes for all children.
“Leeds City Council has invested in a range of preventative and early intervention services that are intended to support children and their families.
“These include an exciting partnership with health to develop our children’s centres into Early Start centres, bringing together health and early years staff to broaden our offer to families.
“As a result of this, and investment in the Children’s Social Work Service, we have been able to safely and appropriately reduce both the numbers of children and young people on a child protection plan and the number of children who are looked after.”
Last year the number of children taken into the care of social services in Leeds rocketed since the Baby P scandal in which a 17-month-old boy died following a catalogue of abuse which was missed by social services.
In Leeds more than 14,139 children were referred to social services between November 2010 and November 2011.