Figures Show Drop For Children In Care In Dudley

Dudley Council has released the figures as it continues to make good progress in improving social care services for children and young people in the borough.

The number of children being looked after in care has fallen by nearly nine per cent in Dudley over the last two years, new figures show.

It comes as it was revealed caseloads for social workers in the borough have eased – and the number leaving or moving jobs has reduced significantly as a result.In January last year, the council’s children’s services were rated as “inadequate” following a visit by inspectors from government watchdog Ofsted.

But council bosses were praised for making “positive progress” in a number of key areas after a follow-up monitoring visit by inspectors in February and the latest figures show the authority is continuing to move in the right direction.

One of the key areas identified for improvement by the council was to reduce the number of children in care.

The figures show there were a total of 674 children being looked after at the end of the current financial year. That is nearly nine per cent down on the statistics for 2014/15, where there were 737 in the council’s care.

Easing the workload on under-pressure social workers was also identified as a key priority.

In April last year the council had 65 workers handling more than 21 cases at a time, the figures show. But by April this year, that figure had dropped by 20 per cent, with only 52 workers having a caseload of 21 or more. Only six have caseloads of 26 or more.

It means 93 per cent of social workers in Dudley now have a caseload less than 26, with nearly half (47.5 per cent) of workers having a caseload below 21.

The turnover rate, an indicator of social workers leaving or switching jobs, has dropped in Dudley from 16.4 per cent in April last year to just 2.4 per cent in April 2017. Tony Oakman, strategic director for people, said:

“The figures are a very encouraging sign that we are continuing to move in the right direction. We recognise, of course, that there is still a long way to go and we will always strive to continue making improvements to the service we offer.

“If social workers have less cases to deal with, they are likely to be under less pressure and can put more time into each one. 

"We want to reduce the number of children and young people being taken into care for their wellbeing and safety, where it is safe and appropriate to do so. Our aim is that all children living in Dudley grow up safe, healthy and in a loving environment.”


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