COVENTRY has the third highest proportion of children under Child Protection Plans in the country – shocking new figures have revealed.
In a report released yesterday (Wednesday, November 11) the Department for education said Coventry had 111 children in every 10,000 placed under the plans this year.
The figure, which is more than double the national average of 53, places Coventry behind Blackpool and Nottingham for the highest proportions of children subject the orders.
Child Protection Plans aim to protect vulnerable youngsters at risk of ‘significant harm’ – including physical, sexual and mental abuse.
Formed at a meeting with relevant agencies, including police and social services, and people who have the most involvement with the child and family, such as the child’s school or GP, the plans detail the risks to the child and set out ways to support and protect them.
The murder of schoolboy Daniel Pelka sparked a crisis in the Council’s children’s services department after a damning Ofsted report in 2014 rated the Council’s child protection performance as ‘inadequate’.
The investigation concluded city children were being left at risk of harm because of delays in social care and high caseloads.
The Observer also revealed last year that number of children in care in Coventry at risk of abuse and neglect has continued to remain stubbornly high at over 600, while the number of children in vulnerable families assigned a child protection plan has soared in the wake of the Pelka tragedy.
But Coventry Council has been quick to point out the latest figures are not necessarily a bad thing – arguing while more children may be placed under the plans, it shows Coventry is acting to protect its vulnerable young people.
Coun Ed Ruane, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said the figures highlighted ‘the level of need’ within the city and it was the Council’s duty to ensure vulnerable children had ‘the safe, loving homes that they need and deserve.’
He added: “As a result of strengthening our approach around early intervention, we have reduced the number of children subject to a Child Protection Plan since this figure was reported, and we do a lot of direct work with families to keep children out of the care system and flourishing within their homes.
“However, we will do what we need to protect our kids, and this means that some children will be subject to a Child Protection Plan.”