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Kent’s improved, but cuts hurting children nationally

BASW has praised Kent Council for turning round its previously failing children’s services, but warned that government cuts continue to put children at risk nationally.

Ofsted reclassified the service from “inadequate” to “adequate” following a two-year £30million improvement drive at the authority.

Kent’s cabinet member for specialist children's services Jenny Whittle stressed more work was still needed to protect children from harm in the county.

Speaking on BBC Radio Kent, BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri said: “Kent should be commended. It is a major achievement in these times of austerity when we have such deep cuts to public services.

“But we know that nationally many social workers are under pressure with far too many cases and far too many balls in the air for them to keep their eyes on.

“The public needs to be made aware of the effect of cuts. It’s not just social workers, so many of the key agencies are under increasing pressure because of the times we live in.”

Ms Mansuri said it was an indication of the challenges facing local authorities that "adequate" was a cause for celebration, adding that there needs to be a greater focus on working with children and families before situations turn into a crisis requiring more intense intervention.

She added: “There is an issue with this when we have fewer resources because the focus tends to be on children at risk of significant harm. We have to be careful we don’t ignore children on the periphery of services.”