Decision Maker: County Council Local Committee for Carlisle
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Members received a detailed presentation by the Senior Manager – Children and Families which gave an overview of cases, trends and referrals regarding children with Child Protection Plans and Children in Needs Plans in Carlisle, and the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The presentation also gave an overview of the responsibilities of the Service, Open Cases and Trends in Carlisle.
Members were informed that officers had been in contact with children during the pandemic period and with contact to the Safeguarding Hub mainly relating to anti-social behaviour, neglect and domestic violence. It was explained that since July there had been an increase in the number of referrals for mental health and neglect.
The Committee was informed that prior to the pandemic referrals in Cumbria had been above average but figures were consistent from November throughout COVID with a slight drop in April. It was explained there was a dip during August due to school closures and a rise in referrals following the start of the Autumn Term in September which highlighted the invaluable insight from schools.
Officers explained the number of children in Carlisle had significantly reduced and it was felt that was due to the concerted efforts made to review care plans on a regular basis together with an increased oversight during the lockdown.
Members were informed that there had not been a lot of difference in the number of Children Looked After (CLA) during the pandemic highlighting that the Carlisle area was significantly lower than the rest of the county. It was explained there had been a slight increase of CLA since the start of the Autumn Term and it was felt the pandemic could have impacted on this.
The Committee welcomed fewer children being placed out of county. Members asked for information regarding the number of children who were placed in Cumbria from other areas of the country and it was agreed to provide this separately.
A discussion took place regarding peer group comparisons. Officers explained Cumbria was above the national trends for Children Looked After and Child Protection, therefore, the early intervention agenda had been introduced together with a focus on developing networks and support in communities, including voluntary sectors.
During the course of discussion a concern was raised regarding the danger to children because of the drive to keep children off the Child Protection Register. The Committee was assured that safeguarding measures were always undertaken and this was an initiative to work with families to increase their strengths to enable them to care for children. It was emphasised that the safety of children would never be jeopardised.
Officers highlighted the need to work in partnership with the Police and confirmed their close working relationships with their child protection units.
The Chair thanked the officer for an informative presentation.
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Date of decision: 09/11/2020
Decided at meeting: 09/11/2020 - County Council Local Committee for Carlisle