Social Workers Reassess Child Cases In Scilly

childrens services signA reassessment of child social care cases on the islands at the start of this year has led to more children getting help for disabilities and fewer early interventions.

Social Work Manager Lynn Plummer told members of yesterday’s Children’s Committee meeting that during the last month, there have been five child protection referrals and the team are working with 28 children from 21 families.

The number of children getting help for disabilities had doubled from 8 in March to 16 in May, while the number of early intervention cases had dropped from 15 to 4 over the same period.

Lynn says that’s because the majority of children they’re working with have long-term issues that require more than just short-term intervention.

Chairman of the committee, Christine Savill, said it was useful to get facts and figures and “sometimes it surprises us all.”

The Social Care team recently introduced water confidence sessions for children with additional needs, launched a support group for their siblings and restarted the Parent Carer group. They’re also training Council staff to spot signs of abuse.

At the meeting, councillors agreed to new guidelines on who qualifies for the short break service, which provides up to a day out for children.

In her report, Lynn said this gives disabled children new play and leisure opportunities while providing a much-needed break for their carers.

Individuals can receive up to £4,000 to help pay for the breaks.

But Cllr Mike Nelhams asked if they had enough carers and helpers to deal with the number of children using the service.

Lynn told him “it’s a struggle” and says they’re always looking for more people with the right skills to help out.

Lynn said children and families are reluctant to engage with the Social Care service, because of confidentiality issues and the perceived stigma.

She said there are also currently no foster parents on the islands although they do have a childminder available in an emergency.