Education & Family

Cuts 'will lead to vulnerable children dying'

Sharon Shoesmith at the Blackpool conference
Image caption Ms Shoesmith said good work would be undone

More vulnerable children will die at the hands of their parents because of funding cuts, the disgraced former children's services boss Sharon Shoesmith has warned.

The former head of Haringey children's services lost her job after the Baby P tragedy.

She said the "good developments" in social care since then would be undone by a "dreadful" financial situation.

The government has not yet commented on the claims.

Ms Shoesmith, who was removed from her post after a damning Ofsted report into Haringey children's services failings in the Baby P case, issued the warning at a conference in Blackpool.

'Desperate parents'

"All of these good developments we've had and now we've got this dreadful financial situation, this dreadful financial settlement," she said.

"Child poverty will rise and I don't think there's any doubt about that. I think everyone now expects that these cuts are going to hit hard on vulnerable children.

"Yes, child poverty will rise, but if we stop measuring it how will we know?

"It all does translate into higher risk for children, the risk of more children dying at the hands of their desperate parents."

She is not the first to warn that children's services could be hit hard by the cuts to local authority budgets.

The Local Government Association and children's charities have also warned over the savings

But Ms Shoesmith cited the review into social care and the scrapping of many quangos - which she dubbed an "hallelujah moment" - as examples of positive changes.

She also told the North of England Education Conference she was still struggling to live with the death of Peter Connelly more than three years after he died.

The boy's mother, her boyfriend and their lodger were convicted of causing the death of the boy.

She said: "The murder of Peter Connelly when I was director of children's services in Haringey is something I struggle to live with every day, as do the social workers who knew him.

"There was never any doubt about how sorry and distressed we were by his brutal murder."

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