Ofsted warns disabled children slipping through protection safety net
Disabled children and their families receive strong multi-agency support, but too many children risk slipping through the child protection safety net, care inspectors Ofsted have reported.
Emerging care concerns are often tackled at an early stage due to valuable joint-working initiatives, according to the Ofsted study, which examined 173 cases across 12 local authorities.
The report found disabled children and their families are provided with a wide range of help, including parenting support, short day breaks and access to leisure activities.
However, disabled children often risk having their protection needs going unidentified, the study reveals, and Ofsted found cases in which poor care amounted to neglect.
Report authors called on local authorities and Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards to make good use of data to spot vulnerable disabled children and ensure the consistent application of thresholds for delivering child protection.
‘Research shows that disabled children, sadly are more likely to be abused than children without disabilities, Ofsted deputy chief inspector, John Goldrup said. 'The report highlights the need for greater awareness among all agencies of the potential child protection needs of disabled children, for better and more coordinated assessments, and for more effective monitoring by Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards,’ Mr Goldrup added.
In response, Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) children and young people board said the inspectors’ report found when child protection concerns did arise they were investigated promptly and steps were taken to ensure the child was safe.
‘Councils are committed to continually improving services for the most vulnerable children and the LGA and its partners are currently developing an £8 million programme that will encourage children's services professionals to better share information on what works,’ added Cllr Simmonds.
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