Wiltshire authorities criticised for 'inadequate' children's services

Child crying There are more than 400 children in care or living with foster parents in the county

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Authorities in Wiltshire have been strongly criticised for failing to adequately protect vulnerable children in the county.

An Ofsted report rated earlier stages of intervention as "inadequate" and not meeting the minimum standards.

The part of children's services that involves taking children into care was considered to be adequate.

Wiltshire Council, which runs the service alongside the NHS and police, said it was making improvements.

There are more than 400 children in care or living with foster parents in the county.

In addition, more than 150 children have individual protection plans in place.

The stages of intervention known as safeguarding services attracted most criticism.

Necessary improvements

Inspectors found several cases where special protection plans were supposed to have been in place for vulnerable or at risk children, but were not.

The report also criticised the management of the service.

The authorities have about six months to make the necessary improvements before another inspection.

Wiltshire Council has allocated an extra £500,000 to the service to ensure improvements can be brought about as quickly as possible.

A child protection expert is also being recruited.

Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, described the care of vulnerable children as "the single most important thing the council does".

She said the authority was putting all the resources it could into the department to bring it up to standard.

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