Doncaster children in care numbers fall after bosses previously recorded levels were 'at an all time high'

Less children are being looked after by Doncaster Council services after bosses previously reported numbers were at an 'all time high'.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 7:20 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd September 2019, 12:22 pm

Documents provided by Doncaster Children's Services Trust show the number of young people in their care has dropped from 593 in September 2018 to 523 in June 2019.

Despite figures showing the number of contacts to DCST had increased, there had been a sharp reduction in refferals to the service.

Doncaster is only one of three council areas in the Yorkshire & Humber region which showed a reduction in the number of looked after children - the area average saw a three per cent increase while one council saw a sharp rise of 12 per cent.

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The under pressure organisation was handed more than £6 million by Doncaster Council to cover a financial deficit in 2018. Work is said to be underway in repaying the money.

New governance arrangements which started on April 1, 2019, mean both the trust and the council work more closely together.

James Thomas, director of performance, quality and innovation at DCST, said: "Whilst contacts to the children’s social care front door have increased, there has been a reduction in referrals, total numbers of children in need and looked after children in comparison to the same quarter last year.

A renewed focus on looked after children numbers, overseen by the Trust’s Children in Care Strategy Group, has enabled numbers to reduce from a peak of 593 in September 2018 to 523 by June 2019.

"This has been achieved through a combination of safely reducing the numbers of children entering care and implementing strategies to increase the numbers of children discharged from care.

"This has required practitioners and their managers making detailed and considered risk assessments to ensure that children will remain safe, avoiding the need for them entering or remaining in care.

"We are only one of three areas to have reduced looked after children numbers in 2018/19, with the regional change being an increase of three percent, and as high as twelve percent in certain local authorities."